Market Analysis

S&P 500 rises to the highest level in five months Thursday as Meta leads a tech comeback

What the Federal Reserve's 25 basis point interest rate hike means for investors

The S&P 500 rose to its highest level in five months on Thursday as better-than-expected Meta results further improved sentiment around technology shares, which led the market lower last year.

The broader market index jumped 1.4%, or its best level since August. Meanwhile, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite advanced about 3% to its highest level since September. The gains come ahead of a trio of Big Tech results after the bell in Apple, Amazon and Alphabet.

Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average underperformed, falling 102 points, or about 0.3%. The major index was dragged by Merck shares after the pharmaceutical firm issued a weak outlook in its latest earnings results, despite beating estimates on the top and bottom lines.

Meta surged more than 25% in its best day since 2013 after reporting a fourth-quarter beat on revenue and announcing a $40 billion stock buyback. That helped investors look past losses in the business unit overseeing the metaverse.

Other mega-cap tech stocks rose on the back of those results. Shares of Google-parent Alphabet were up more than 6%, while Amazon jumped more than 6%. Apple shares gained more than 3%.

Tech stocks have outperformed in 2023, buoyed by recent signals of cooling inflation that investors expect could lead to a pause from the Federal Reserve in its aggressive rate hiking campaign. The S&P 500 information technology sector is up more than 14% this year after a decline of more than 28% last year.

“It’s showing that growth is outperforming value as it unwinds some of the pressures that hawkish rhetoric brought to risk markets over the course of 2022,” said Keith Buchanan, senior portfolio manager at GLOBALT Investments.

Wall Street is coming off a winning session after the Fed on Wednesday announced a 0.25 percentage point interest rate hike. While the central bank gave no indication of an upcoming pause in rate hikes, investors were encouraged by the smaller increase and Chair Jerome Powell’s comments recognizing easing inflation.

Traders are awaiting the latest jobs report Friday that will give further insight into the labor market. Any signs of cooling could suggest to investors that further rate hikes are off the table.

Read More:S&P 500 rises to the highest level in five months Thursday as Meta leads a tech comeback

2023-02-02 16:47:00

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