U.S. stocks traded at fresh three-month highs Thursday after another batch of July data suggested inflation may be easing.
How stocks are faring
rose 42 points, or 1%, to 4,250.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
climbed 305 points, or 0.9%, to 33,615.
added 137 points, or 1.1%, to 12,992.
On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average
rose 535 points, or 1.63%, to 33310, the S&P 500
increased 88 points, or 2.13%, to 4210, and the Nasdaq Composite
gained 361 points, or 2.89%, to 12855. The S&P 500 is up 14.8% from its 2022 closing low hit in mid-June but remains down 11.7% for the year to date.
What’s driving markets
Stocks surged to their highest levels since early May after the July producer-price index fell 0.5%, compared with expectations for a 0.2% advance.
Thursday’s optimistic inflation report followed a similarly cooler-than-expected reading on U.S. consumer-price growth released a day earlier. That data also helped send stocks soaring, with the Nasdaq exiting bear-market territory and the Dow exiting correction territory.
Hopes that inflation has peaked helped encourage investors to pile back into equities based on the view that slowing inflation could allow the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates less aggressively.
However, some market strategists are urging caution as rising housing costs could keep core inflation elevated, even as a drop in oil prices, and the prices of other commodities, have helped to reduce inflation expectations.
“Our view is that this is a rally that really deserves a lot of scrutiny because when we think about what has happened since the mid-June low, the market outlook hasn’t really changed,” said Jake Jolly, senior investment strategist at BNY Mellon Investment Management.
“Historically, the Fed delivers more hikes than the market anticipates. And this is clearly a hiking cycle that is far from over,” Jolly said.
Overall, the second quarter earnings season has helped underpin the market. With companies representing 91% of S&P 500 market capitalization having reported, sales growth has been 15.1% and earnings growth 7.9% – surprising by plus 3.5% and plus 3.6%, according to Evercore ISI.
However, the latest surge in stocks may have left the market overextended and vulnerable to a pullback. The CBOE Vix index
an options-based gauge of expected S&P 500 volatility, has dipped below its long-run average of 20, suggesting traders may be getting a tad complacent.
In addition, the S&P 500’s 14-day relative strength index, a closely watched momentum gauge, is around 74, where any reading above 70 is considered overbought territory. The RSI for market behemoth Apple
is 76, the highest since December.
In other economic data news, initial jobless benefit claims rose 14,000 to 262,000 in the week ended Aug. 6, as the weekly data continued to show rising numbers of Americans applying for jobless benefits — even as the unemployment rate inched lower last month to 3.5%.
Companies in focus
Shares of GSK PLC
tumbled amid controversy surrounding serious side effects caused by the heartburn drug Zantac.
Six Flags Entertainment Corp.
shares were down more than 20% after the company released disappointing earnings.
Canada Goose Holdings Inc.
shares climbed more than 6% after the company reported higher than expected revenue, which offset a larger-than-expected loss.
Shares of Utz Inc.
rallied 8% after the salty snacks maker beat Wall Street’s adjusted net income and revenue targets and raised it fiscal 2022 organic net sales outlook by 2%.
How are other assets faring
- Oil was seeing modest gains, with West Texas Intermediate crude for August delivery up $1.15, or 1.3%, to $93.08 a barrel.
The 10-year Treasury yield
fell 1.2 basis points to 2.777%.
The ICE Dollar index
fell 0.4% as traders priced in a less aggressive Fed. But a softer buck did not help gold
which was marginally lower.
advanced 2.3% to $24,410.
Asia markets mostly got a lift from Wall Street’s overnight surge with Hong Kong’s Hang Sang
adding 2.2%, though Japan missed out because of the Mountain Day holiday. In Europe the Stoxx 600
was roughly flat.