S&P 500 Rises in Choppy Trade as Banks Shine, Big Tech Wavers

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By Yasin Ebrahim

Investing.com — The S&P 500 climbed Thursday, in choppy trade as investors weighed up weakness in big tech and strength in banking stocks amid rising Treasury yields after Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell vowed to continue the fight against inflation.

The S&P 500 rose 0.3%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2%, or 48 points, the Nasdaq was up 0.2%.

Tech struggled for direction as big tech including Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) remained in the red after Treasury yields climbed on hawkish remarks from Powell vowing to persist with rate hikes.

Powell said the Fed reiterated the need to persist with rate hikes to battle inflation, vowing to “to keep at it until the job is done.” The central bank “wants a period of below-trend growth,” Fed chief added.

Other fed members including those who lean more dovish have also struck a hawkish tone. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans on Thursday backed the idea of lifting rates to 4% by the end of the year.

Rising semiconductor stocks helped to keep a lid on losses in tech, underpinned by a 2% rise in Advanced Micro Devices Inc (NASDAQ:AMD).

Stifel initiated coverage on AMD with a buy rating and set a $122 price target, forecasting a more than 50% rise from the current price.

Financials were pushed higher as banking stocks racked up gains on rising Treasury yields.

Citizens Financial Group Inc (NYSE:CFG), KeyCorp (NYSE:KEY), Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) were among the top gainers in the sector, up more than 3%.

Rising Treasury yields, or rates, boost the net interest margin of banks, the difference between the interest income generated by banks and the amount of interest paid out to depositors.

Healthcare was also up 1% powered by a 19% surge in Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:REGN) after it announced positive results from its late-stage clinical trials on its eye medication Eylea.

Moderna Inc (NASDAQ:MRNA) climbed more than 3% after Deutsch Bank upgraded its rating on the pharma giant to buy from hold after revising estimates higher following the latter’s recent strong quarterly results.

Energy steadied after suffering a rout on Wednesday as oil prices rose more than 2%, though ongoing concerns about energy demand amid slowing global growth weighed.

The rebound in oil prices comes even as crude oil inventories unexpectedly increased by about 9 million last week, confounding expectations for a draw of 250,000 barrels.

In meme-stock news, GameStop Corp (NYSE:GME) said it struck a new partnership with cryptocurrency exchange FTX to jointly work on e-commerce and online marketing initiatives. The news overshadowed the video game retailer’s quarterly results showing a wider than expected loss. Gamestop was up more than 6%.

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