Wall St soars as cooling inflation spurs bets of smaller rate hikes

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
Wall St soars as cooling inflation spurs bets of smaller rate hikes
Credit: © Reuters.

By Devik Jain and Sruthi Shankar

(Reuters) -Wall Street's main indexes rallied on Thursday, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq leading gains, after data showed consumer prices rose less than expected in October, spurring hopes that the Fed might scale down the size of its future rate hikes.

The benchmark S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were set for their biggest percentage gain since April 2020 as the data pointed to strongest signs yet that inflation was starting to subside, with the annual number below 8% for the first time in eight months.

"It's very good news for future Fed policy and indicates that what the Fed has been doing has been appropriate," said Mike Zigmont, head of trading and research at Harvest Volatility Management. "It takes off the table the risk that the Fed will have to overtighten and break the economy."

The inflation data prompted traders to adjust their rate hike bets, with odds of a 50-basis point rate hike in December jumping to more than 80% from 52% before the data was released.

Another set of data showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits increased moderately last week, signaling job growth is slowing.

The CBOE volatility index, also known as Wall Street's fear gauge, fell to a near two-month low of 23.4 points.

Wall Street's main indexes have suffered sharp losses this year as investors feared the U.S. central bank's aggressive rate hikes to tame decades-high inflation will tip the economy into recession. The S&P 500 is still down 18.3% on a year-to-date basis, on course for its worst annual performance since 2008.

Growth and technology-related stocks provided a big boost to the markets on Thursday as Treasury yields tumbled following the data. [US/]

Market heavyweights including Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA ) Inc, Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ: MSFT ), Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL ), Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN ), Meta Platforms (NASDAQ: META ) Inc and Nvidia Corp rose between 6.0% and 10.1%.

A media report said Amazon was reviewing unprofitable business units, including the devices unit, to cut costs.

At 10:43 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 820.97 points, or 2.52%, at 33,334.91, the S&P 500 was up 149.48 points, or 3.99%, at 3,898.05, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 553.42 points, or 5.35%, at 10,906.60.

The PHLX Housing index jumped 10.3% to its highest level in two months after getting battered this year on concerns about higher rates denting affordability.

The Russell 2000 index of small cap companies climbed 5.1%.

Rivian Automotive Inc rose 13.8% after the electric-vehicle maker reported a smaller-than-expected loss, higher number of preorders and reaffirmed its full-year production outlook.

Meanwhile, Republicans edged closer to securing a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives while control of the Senate hinged on a few tight races, two days after Democrats staved off an anticipated "red wave" of Republican gains in midterm elections.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Raindrops hang on a sign for Wall Street outside the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., October 26, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 11.59-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 5.60-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 13 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 70 new highs and 93 new lows.

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