NEW YORK: US stock indexes rose on Thursday on strong earnings reports, while bargain hunting boosted mega-cap growth companies after the Nasdaq index plunged into correction territory in the previous session.
The Nasdaq has had a rough two months since hitting a record peak in November, with investors dumping tech stocks on expectations that the Federal Reserve would aggressively raise interest rates to tame inflation.
Recovering somewhat from Wednesday’s selloff, growth companies such as Microsoft Corp and Tesla Inc gained 2.5% and 3.8%, respectively.
The S&P 500 consumer discretionary, technology and communication services were the sectors that gained the most on the benchmark index.
Netflix, which is set to kick off earnings for big growth companies after market close, rose 1.4%.
Wall Street is watching Netflix’s results to see whether companies have started to pull in enough new customers to justify big spending on online programming in 2022.
“A lot of investors certainly felt that they missed out on that swing higher in growth stocks in the fall,” said David Keller, chief market strategist at StockCharts.com
“Now that they’ve come off quite a bit and are testing levels of previous support, I wouldn’t be surprised if a good earnings report causes a nice bounce to Netflix, mainly because it is at such a lower valuation than a couple of months ago.”
The Fed’s policy meeting next week will be eyed for clarity on the central bank’s plan to control inflation after data earlier this month showed U.S. consumer prices surged to the highest level in four decades in December.
Data on Thursday showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, likely as a wave of COVID-19 cases disrupted business activity.
U.S. Treasury yields were steady after dropping from two-year highs on Wednesday. Yields have been rising this month as investors price in the likelihood of a hawkish Fed, weighing on equity markets.
At 11:40 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 425.53 points, or 1.21%, at 35,454.18, the S&P 500 was up 61.57 points, or 1.36%, at 4,594.33 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 256.71 points, or 1.79%, at 14,596.97.
Insurance industry bellwether Travelers Companies gained 5.8% after reporting a record quarterly profit as higher returns from its investments cushioned the hit from a rise in catastrophe-related claims.
Baker Hughes Co jumped 5.4% as surging crude prices boosted demand for its oilfield service equipment, helping it post an adjusted quarterly profit compared with a year-ago loss.
American Airlines dipped 0.4%, reversing from early gains despite it reporting a smaller fourth-quarter loss, while United Airlines fell 0.5% after cutting its capacity forecast for 2022.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 4.19-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 3.19-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 11 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 14 new highs and 124 new lows.