U.S. Stocks Extend Recovery Rally For Fourth Consecutive Session

The major U.S. stock indexes moved in opposite directions early in the session on Friday but all moved notably higher over the course of the trading day. The upward move extended the rally seen over the three previous sessions.

The major averages finished the session at their best levels of the day. The Dow climbed 274.17 points or 0.8 percent to 34,754.93, the Nasdaq surged 279.06 points or 2.1 percent to 13,893.84 and the S&P 500 jumped 51.45 points or 1.2 percent to 4,463.12.

For the week, the Nasdaq soared by 8.2 percent, while the S&P 500 and the Dow spiked by 6.2 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively.

The markets continued to benefit from recent upward momentum, with the major averages recovering from the sell-off sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq had ended Monday’s trading at its lowest closing level in over a year, while the S&P 500 finished the day just above the nearly nine-month closing low set last Tuesday.

Traders also kept an eye on the latest developments in the Russia-Ukraine war, as ongoing peace talks have thus far failed to yield a breakthrough.

President Joe Biden spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping about the conflict this morning, with the White House saying Biden described the implications and consequences if China provides material support to Russia.

In U.S. economic news, the National Association of Realtors released a report showing a sharp pullback in U.S. existing home sales in the month of February.

NAR said existing home sales plunged by 7.2 percent to an annual rate of 6.02 million in February after surging by 6.6 percent to a revised rate of 6.49 million in January.

Economists had expected existing home sales to tumble by 6.2 percent to a rate of 6.10 million from the 6.50 million originally reported for the previous month.

The steeper than expected pullback came after existing home sales reached their highest annual rate in a year in January.

A separate report from the Conference Board showed its U.S. leading economic index rose by slightly more than expected in the month of February.

The Conference Board said its leading economic index increased by 0.3 percent in February after falling by a revised 0.5 percent in January.

Economists had expected the leading economic index to edge up by 0.2 percent compared to the 0.3 percent drop originally reported for the previous month.

Sector News

Computer hardware stocks extended the substantial rebound seen over the past several sessions, driving the NYSE Arca Computer Hardware Index up by 2.8 percent. The index continued to recover after ending Monday’s trading at its lowest closing level in almost a year.

Continued strength was also visible among tobacco stocks, as reflected by the 2.8 percent spike by the NYSE Arca Tobacco Index.

Semiconductor stocks also turned in a strong performance on the day, resulting in a 2 percent jump by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index,

Housing, networking and biotechnology stocks also showed notable moves to the upside, while utilities stocks bucked the uptrend.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index advanced by 0.7 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index jumped by 1.1 percent.

The major European markets also moved to the upside over the course of the session. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.3 percent, the German DAX Index edged up by 0.2 percent and the French CAC 40 Index inched up by 0.1 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries moved higher after ending the previous session roughly flat. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, fell by 4.4 basis points to 2.148 percent.

Looking Ahead

Reports on new home sales, durable goods orders, and pending home sales may attract attention next week, while traders are also likely to keep an eye on the latest developments overseas.

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