On Thursday, the benchmark indexes on Wall Street ended the day higher, with the Nasdaq Composite and the S&P 500 recording their fourth consecutive higher closes. This was because investors seemed to lean into US stocks after hints from the US Federal Reserve that the interest rate hike program may be tempered for a bit.
After the first half of the year saw the US stock markets undergo a brutal sell-off due to the Russia and Ukraine conflict, a surge in inflation, and the hawkish stance of the Federal Reserve, they appeared to have stabilized somewhat in July.
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So far in July, every single one of the four sessions of the S&P 500 has ended higher, after the benchmark stock index recorded its sharpest percentage drop in the first half since 1970. The index has not been able to record five successive sessions of gains in 2022 so far.
Minutes of Fed’s meeting
The focus of the day was the minutes of the June meeting of the US central bank, where it had hiked up the interest rate by 75 basis points. They showed that the Fed was committed to getting inflation under control.
However, the officials had acknowledged that the aggressive tightening policy could have a bigger impact on economic growth. They also asserted that they would consider a 50 or 75 basis points increase in the interest rate in the July meeting.
Christopher Waller, the Governor of the Fed, also echoed the less hawkish comments on Thursday. He said that the fears about an economic recession were significantly overblown and a 50 basis point in the interest rate would be appropriate.
Many investors took this as a cue for adding to their positions, particularly where high-growth stocks are concerned. These stocks had taken a beating in the first half because investors were concerned about their prospects in an environment of high-interest rates.
Tech names, both big and small, were able to benefit from the interest in high-growth stocks. These included a 3.7% increase for Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc., a 5.5% rise for Tesla, a gain of 17.1% for Affirm Holdings Inc., and of 16.4% for Avalara Inc.
Analysts said that it felt like real money was returning once more, but they did add that markets could fall by 30% once more. However, they said that if there was a 30% risk of a downside, the chances of an upside were three times higher.
There was a 1.12% rise in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, as it gained 346.87 points to close the day at 31,384.55. A 1.50% gain was also seen in the S&P 500, as it rose by 57.54 points to end at 3,902.62. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite was able to advance by 2.28% or 259.49 points for the day and this led it to 11,621.35. Nearly all sectors of the S&P 500 recorded gains, with a 3.5% rise in the energy sector making it the best performer.
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