Tech rally turns around sagging stocks
Stocks rose the most in six months Friday as technology shares, which led the longest rout in U.S. stocks in almost two years, bounced back to push major indexes higher. Treasuries fell, and the dollar rose with oil.
The S&P 500 Index gained 1.4 percent in the final hour of a wild up-anddown session, with trading 30 percent above average, to post its best performance since April 10. The benchmark had all but erased a morning rally that reached 1.7 percent, only to bounce higher after JPMorgan analysts said that selling forced by computer-driven strategies had likely run its course. Volatility ruled, though, with the index making another run at wiping out the gain before resuming its climb.
Technology buoyed all the major averages, with the Nasdaq 100 Index rising 2.8 percent just two days after its worst rout since 2011. Netflix Inc. rallied 6 percent amid an “opportunistic upgrade” from analysts at Citigroup Inc. Activision Blizzard Inc. drove gains in gaming shares after releasing a new version of “Call of Duty.” The 10-year Treasury yield rose for the first time in three days, reaching 3.17 percent. Still, rising interest rates weighed on banks even after mostly positive earnings reports from JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo. The group was down almost 5.5 percent for the week.
The reasons for Friday’s rally were as varied as for the weeklong pounding. Trade data from China helped ease concerns about global growth, while signs emerged of relaxing tensions with the U.S. amid a planned meeting between the countries in November and the Treasury Department’s determination that China isn’t manipulating its currency. Relief that bank earnings weren’t bad cooled anxiety that corporate profits might not live up to lofty expectations amid higher costs from the Trump tariffs.
“Solid bank earnings, Chinese trade data and excessively oversold conditions is charging the equity rebound,” Ben Emons, chief economist at Intellectus Partners LLC, wrote in an emailed note. “All of these set in motion what you could dub as a ‘stock reflation’ trade after several days of brutal moves.”
The rally, which came after two days of market tumult, was global, with the MSCI All-Country World Index adding more than 1 percent. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed from the lowest level since May 2017. European shares, however, slid into the close, with the Stoxx 600 Index turning negative to erase a gain that reached almost 1 percent and cap its worst week since February.
Despite the strong performance, the S&P 500, Nasdaq 100 and Dow Jones Industrial Average had their worst week since March.
Earnings remain key as third-quarter reports from U.S. companies will show whether the Trump administration’s tax breaks are still boosting corporate profits.