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U.S. stocks rose Thursday morning as investors attempted to stymie this week’s losing streak across equity markets from stretching into another day as rate jitters and recession chatter hamper a seasonally bullish period for Wall Street.
The S&P 500 (^GSPC) climbed 0.4% while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) bounced 130 points, or also about 0.4%. The technology-focused Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) advanced by the same margin.
Renewed concerns over a sustained span of higher interest rates ahead and the prospect of an economic downturn have led to a downbeat start to December, a historically positive month for stocks.
The benchmark S&P 500 registered its fifth consecutive losing day in Wednesday’s trade, bringing losses for the blue-chip index to 3.6% in the first seven days of the month so far. A 4.4% loss for the Nasdaq over the same time, meanwhile, marks its worst first week of December since 1975, per data from Bespoke Investment Group.
In other markets, U.S. Treasuries held steady after the 10-year yield slid below 3.5% to a nearly three-month low. Oil rose after the commodity plunged more than 10% this week to trade near year-ago levels. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures climbed nearly 3%. The rise comes after the Keystone oil pipeline system was shut down amid a leak into a creek in the Midwest.
Meanwhile, filings for unemployment insurance rose slightly last week. Initial jobless claims, the most timely snapshot of the labor market, came in at 230,000 for the week ended Dec. 3, an increase of 4,000 from the previous week’s revised level, Labor Department figures showed Thursday.
On the corporate side, GameStope (GME) shares rose 3%, even as the meme stock favorite reported worse-than-expected quarterly earnings.
Shares of Rent the Runway (RENT) surged 20% after the company raised its full-year revenue forecast and reported results that beat Wall Street estimates. CEO Jennifer Hyman also said the company’s restructuring plan was “substantially complete” and will focus on “substantially improving cash burn” in the future.
Another round of earnings is on the docket for traders after the bell Tuesday, with headliners including Broadcom (AVGO), Costco (COST), Lululemon (LULU), and DocuSign (DOCU) on deck to report. Costco is Yahoo Finance’s Company of the Year.
Investors are nearing the Federal Reserve’s highly anticipated last rate-setting meeting of 2022 next week. U.S. central bank officials are scheduled to convene Dec. 13-14 and expected to lift their benchmark interest rate by 50 basis points.
While the Fed’s next policy move is largely priced in, uncertainty remains around how high the key policy rate will need to go, how long the U.S. economy will weather a higher interest rate environment, and whether it may trigger a recession. Wall Street’s big banks, along with traders, are pricing in a pause at around 5%, but some have warned rates can go higher if economic and labor market momentum keeps at the current pace.
We do not yet think the Federal Open Markets Committee is ready to signal the end of rate hikes is coming soon, but mathematically with the dot plot in hand, the December step toward ‘sufficiently restrictive’ will put them just 75 bps away from the Summary of Economic Projections’ (SEP) median terminal rate,” UBS economist Jonathan Pingle said in a recent note. “The Chair seems likely to remind everyone that the SEP is not a commitment, and depends on how the economy and data unfold.”
More price data is due out ahead of the meeting and will offer traders – and Fed officials – a snapshot of where inflation is trending. The Producer Price Index (PPI), a measure of inflation at the wholesale level, is set for release on Friday, while the all-important Consumer Price Index (CPI) is due out on Tuesday, day one of the Fed meeting.
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