Thursday, March 17, 2022

DJIA: 34,480.76, up 417.66
S&P 500: 4,411.67, up 53.81
Nasdaq: 13,614.78, up 178.23

Stocks extend upward momentum on Thursday

U.S. stocks extended their upward momentum on Thursday as Wall Street monitored a confluence of factors. The S&P 500 gained 1.2%, capping its best three-day rally since November 2020. The Dow advanced 417 points, rising for a fourth consecutive session. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.3%, now sitting 15.2% below its November 19 record level. Risk sentiment was buoyed amid reports that Russia was able to make some of their dollar-denominated bond payments. Still, investors remained cautious after the Kremlin refuted claims that major progress had been made in Ukraine peace talks.

Meanwhile, central bank policy remained in focus after the Federal Reserve opted to raise its benchmark rate by 25 basis points (0.25%) on Wednesday. Overseas, the Bank of England announced its own rate hike earlier today, its third one in as many meetings. On the data front today, weekly initial jobless claims came in at 214,000, below expectations for 220,000, highlighting a tight labor market. Another release revealed average mortgage rates for a 30-year loan surpassed 4% for the first time in nearly three years. Treasuries modestly weakened, with the yield on the 10-year note up two basis points (0.02%) to 2.20%.

All 11 S&P 500 sectors closed in positive territory. Energy shares outperformed with West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rebounding 8.8% to $103.41/barrel, paring its week-to-date decline to 5.1%. Also providing a tailwind to the group, Occidental Petroleum Corp. jumped 9.4% following news Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway increased its stake in the oil producer. In earnings, Dollar General Corp advanced 4.5% after the discount retailer provided upbeat full-year sales forecast.

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