Stocks rose Thursday as the S&P 500 broke its longest losing streak since October and Wall Street evaluated the odds of a recession ahead.
The S&P added 0.75% to finish at 3,963.51. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 183.56 points, or 0.55%, to settle at 33,781.48, while the Nasdaq Composite rallied 1.13% to end at 11,082.00.
Despite Thursday’s gains, stocks are on pace for a losing week, with the Dow down 1.88%. The S&P and Nasdaq are slated to finish 2.66% and 3.31% lower, respectively.
“We had a strong selloff over the last few days and it doesn’t take much to create even the underpinnings for a modest rally,” said Quincy Krosby, LPL Financial’s chief global strategist, referring to Thursday’s jobless claims — specifically continuing claims —as the likely catalyst for the market action.
The data showed a modest uptick in claims. Continuing claims hit their highest level since February, a slight move in the right direction for the economy that could further fuel the narrative that the labor market needs to break in order for the Fed to successfully tamp down inflation.
“Again, we’re back to bad news being good news,” Krosby said.
Semiconductor and technology stocks that have struggled during this year’s selloff also gained during Thursday’s session, with Nvidia and Amazon adding 6.5% and 2.1%, respectively. Activision Blizzard fell as the FTC sued to block its acquisition by Microsoft. GameStop rose 11% after posting earnings late Wednesday.
Investor attention remains laser-focused on next week’s Federal Reserve policy meeting, where the central bank is widely expected to issue a 50 basis point interest rate hike. It’s a smaller increase than the prior four rate hikes, but may do little to alleviate recession fears as the Fed attempt to squash surging prices.
Next week’s November consumer price index should also provide more clarity on the direction of inflation, along with the producer price index slated for Friday.