US Stock Market: DJIA, S&P500, Nasdaq and Russell ended over 2% up on Wednesday
- The S&P 500 rose 87.77 points, or 2.1%, to 4,210.24
- The Nasdaq rose 360.88 points, or 2.9%, to 12,854.80
- The Russell 2000 rose 56.36 points, or 2.9%, to 1,969.25
The upbeat inflation report fueled speculation that the Federal Reserve may not need to be as aggressive in raising interest rates as previously anticipated. The Fed has been raising interest rates in an effort to slow the economy and combat inflation, but doing so risks triggering a recession if the Fed pushes too aggressively.
The S&P 500 increased by 87.77 points, or 2.1%, to 4,210.24. The advances snapped a four-day losing trend, propelling the benchmark index to its highest level since early May. It is now nearly 15% higher than its low in mid-June.
The Nasdaq composite, whose many high-growth and expensive-looking stocks have been particularly vulnerable to interest rates, jumped 360.88 points, or 2.9%, to 12,854.80. It's up more than 20% from June.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 535.10 points, or 1.6%, to 33,309.51.
Technology stocks, cryptocurrencies and other of the year's hardest-hit investments were some of the day's biggest winners. Bitcoin rose 2.2% to just under $24,000.
Lower prices for gasoline and oil was responsible for much of last month's inflation surprise. But even after ignoring that and volatile food prices, so-called “core inflation” held steady last month instead of accelerating as economists had forecast.
Such differences may not sound like much, but interest rates help set where prices go across financial markets. And higher rates tend to pull down prices for everything from stocks to commodities to crypto.
Prices for bonds soared immediately after the inflation report’s release, pulling their yields lower. The yield on the two-year Treasury, which tends to track expectations for the Fed, fell to 3.19% from 3.27% late Tuesday.
The 10-year yield initially fell, though stabilized later in trading. It edged higher to 2.79% from 2.78% late Tuesday. It remains below the two-year yield and many investors see such a gap as a fairly reliable signal of a coming recession.
Recession worries have built as the highest inflation in 40 years squeezes households and corporations around the world. Wall Street is closely watching to see if the Fed can succeed in hitting the brakes on the economy and cooling inflation without veering into a recession.
The Federal Reserve will get a few more highly anticipated reports before its next announcement on interest rates Sept. 21, which could also alter its stance. Those include reports showing hiring trends across the economy due Sept. 2 and the next update on consumer inflation coming on Sept. 13.
More immediately, reports this week will show how inflation is doing at the wholesale level and whether U.S. households are still ratcheting down their expectations for coming inflation, an influential data point for Fed officials.
Wednesday's inflation data nevertheless helped stocks across Europe climb to modest gains, while markets that closed earlier in Asia were mostly down. Germany's DAX returned 1.2%, Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.6% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 2%.
On Wall Street, companies in the housing industry were strong on hopes that a less aggressive Fed could mean less pressure on mortgage rates. Homebuilder D.R. Horton gained 4.7%, PulteGroup rose 4.6% and Lennar was 3.6% higher.
Cruise lines and other travel-related companies also made big gains. Carnival rose 9.2% and American Airlines rose 3.1%.
Netflix, a formerly high-flying and high-growth stock that has plunged to be this year's worst in the S&P 500, was up 6.2% though it remains down by nearly 60% for 2022.