S&P 500 in search of first weekly win in four weeks as rates retreat to boost tech

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S&P 500 in search of first weekly win in four weeks as rates retreat to boost tech
Credit: © Reuters.

By Yasin Ebrahim

Investing.com -- The S&P 500 rallied Friday, searching for its first weekly in gain in four weeks as Treasury yields eased from more than decade highs.

The S&P 500 gained 1.5%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 1.04%, or 352 points, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 1.9%.

The 10-year Treasury yield moved back below the key 4% level after recently hitting its highest level since 2010. The retreat in yields comes even as data showing an expected return to growth in U.S. services activity for the first time in eight months suggested the economy remains resilient enough to withstand further rate hikes.

“Demand has clearly slowed on the goods side of the economy, but the service sector is still cranking,” Jefferies said in a note. “Service sector businesses are still having difficulty in meeting demand.”

Strong economic data has forced investors to rethink how much more Fed tightening is needed to materially slow the economy.

Investors are now forecasting the Fed to lift rates to a terminal rate as high as 5.46%, well above the 4.95% level seen at the end of last year, Stifel said in a note.

Growth sectors of the economy including consumer discretionary and tech, both of which are vulnerable to rising rates, were bolstered by the fall in Treasury yields.

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA ) was the biggest gainer in consumer stocks following data showing that demand in China rose after the electric vehicle maker cut prices.

Tesla’s monthly sales climbed 13% to 74,402 vehicles in February, according to preliminary data from China’s Passenger Car Association released Friday.

In tech, Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL ) rallied more than 3% after Morgan Stanley reiterated its Buy rating on the stock, citing "underappreciated catalysts" including iPhone and services gross margins near all-time highs and future product launches.

Meta Platforms (NASDAQ: META ) was also in the ascendency, up more than 6%, after the social media giant cut the price of its virtual reality headsets at a time when Wall Street continues to talk up the company’s potential boost from artificial intelligence.

In other AI-related stock news, C3 AI Inc (NYSE: AI ) reported fiscal third-quarter results that beat Wall Street’s expectations, driven by new business wins and the expansion of partnerships, sending its shares up 33%.

The AI enterprise company also delivered upbeat guidance, with management reiterating their target to reach non-GAAP operating profitability by the fiscal fourth quarter.

Semiconductor stocks also pushed tech higher, underpinned by a more 5% jump in Broadcom Inc (NASDAQ: AVGO ) after the chipmaker delivered stronger than expected guidance and its quarterly results topped estimates.

The chipmaker is “well positioned for a soft landing,” UBS says, as its positioning in “high-end networking and compute offload should prove highly advantageous as hyperscalers look to rapidly scale AI infrastructure.”

Marvell Technology (NASDAQ: MRVL ) took some shine off chip stocks after reporting mixed fourth-quarter results and guidance that fell short of estimates as it continues to work through bloated inventory levels following pandemic-led stockpiling.

Elsewhere on the earnings front, Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ: COST ) reported fiscal second-quarter earnings that beat estimates , but revenue and February same-store sales fell short amid a weaker consumer.

Goldman Sachs said it continued to have confidence in COST’s value proposition continuing to resonate with consumers and noted that the wholesale retailer’s management attributed the weakness in February to adverse weather.

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