U.S. stocks climbed on Friday as upbeat retail sales data allayed some concerns about an imminent recession, while investors scaled back bets of a supersized interest rate hike this month after comments from Federal Reserve policymakers.
The benchmark S&P 500 and the blue-chip Dow rose after a five-day run of losses, which were mostly fanned by worries of a 100 basis points rate hike at the July policy meeting following hot inflation data.
Moving interest rates too dramatically could undermine the positive trends still seen in the economy and add to the already large amount of uncertainty, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic said.
Two of the Fed’s most hawkish policymakers on Thursday said they favored another 75 bps rate increase this month.
“The debate of a rate hike of a 100 basis points was keeping the market on edge,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities.
“If we should manage to close around yesterday’s levels, it’s more proof of the markets having priced in a fairly respectable earnings season, and an overly aggressive Fed.”
Data on Friday showed U.S. retail sales rebounded strongly in June as Americans spent more on gasoline and other goods amid soaring inflation.
Meanwhile, a University of Michigan survey showed U.S. consumers tempered their inflation expectations in July alongside a sharp drop in gasoline prices over the past month.
The latest data and comments from the Fed speakers drove traders to scale back bets of a full percentage-point rise rate hike at the upcoming meeting. The odds stood at about 30% after rising to nearly 80% earlier this week, according to the CME Group’s Fedwatch tool.
Banks earnings also hit full stride, with Citigroup, jumping 8.5% as strong trading activity in the second quarter helped offset a slump in investment banking.
Wells Fargo gained 6.0% even as it set aside more money to cover potential loan losses.
Bank stocks took a beating in the previous session after Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase & Co kicked off earnings season by reporting falls in profits and sounded cautious on economic headwinds ahead.
At 10:13 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 507.72 points, or 1.66%, at 31,137.89, the S&P 500 was up 50.87 points, or 1.34%, at 3,841.25, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 120.63 points, or 1.07%, at 11,371.81.
BlackRock edged up 0.1% despite posting a bigger-than-expected quarterly profit drop.
UnitedHealth Group Inc rose 4.1% after raising its full-year profit forecast for a second straight quarter, as strong sales at its Optum unit helped it top quarterly results.
Shares of Pinterest rallied 13.2% following a news report that activist investor Elliott Management has taken a more than 9% stake in the social media company, citing people familiar with the matter.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 3.08-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and 1.53-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded one new 52-week high and 31 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 17 new highs and 69 new lows.