Wall Street closes strongly higher, with Meta and Apple leading the way
On Thursday, Wall Street finished substantially higher. Meta Platforms released a good quarterly report and growth sectors and easing concerns about the US economy’s first-quarter loss. The parent company of Facebook jumped 17.6% as the social network posted higher-than-expected earnings and returned from a user decline.
With gains of 4.04 percent and 3.89 percent, respectively, communication services and technology were among the best-performing of 11 S&P 500 sector indexes. Apple Inc and Amazon.com Inc both rose more than 4% ahead of their quarterly reports later in the day.
Amazon’s stock dropped 10% in extended trading after the company forecasted current-quarter sales that fell short of Wall Street expectations. Due to concerns about inflation, increasing interest rates, and a likely economic downturn, investors have been selling high-growth equities for weeks.
So far in 2022, the S&P 500 has gained or lost 2% or more in a single day 32 times, compared to 24 times in all of 2021. “When interest rates, inflation, and the Fed’s actions are all so volatile, valuing every other asset becomes that much more challenging,” said Zach Hill, head of Portfolio Strategy at Horizon Investments in Charlotte, North Carolina. “We’ve looked at a lot of earnings data over the previous few days and weeks, and corporate America’s underlying fundamentals have been reasonably good, with a few exceptions,” Hill said.
The first quarter of the year saw the US economy fall unexpectedly as COVID-19 infections rose again and government pandemic response funds fell. The Commerce Department announced the first fall in gross domestic product since the short and acute pandemic recession about two years ago, which was mostly caused by a bigger trade deficit as imports increased and a halt in inventory accumulation.
Unofficially, the S&P 500 rose 2.47 percent to 4,287.50 points at the close of the session. The NASDAQ surged 3.06 percent to 12,871.53 points, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.85% to 33,916.39 points. The Ukraine conflict, China’s COVID restrictions, and rising inflation have all weighed on the global economy’s prospects, causing market volatility ahead of the Federal Reserve’s May meeting next week.
Overall, first-quarter profits have outperformed estimates, with 81 percent of the 237 companies in the S&P 500 reporting results thus far exceeding Wall Street expectations. According to Refinitiv data, only 66 percent of corporations beat predictions on average. Qualcomm Inc’s stock jumped 9.7% after the chipmaker raised its revenue projection for the third quarter, beating analyst forecasts.
The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index rose 5.6 percent in one day, the most in almost a year. Caterpillar Inc. dipped 0.7 percent after warning that rising costs will put pressure on profit margins in the current quarter. Amgen Inc slumped 4.3 percent after the company reported the US Internal Revenue Service is seeking $5.1 billion in additional unpaid taxes.
Advancers outpaced decliners by a 2.6-to-1 ratio on the New York Stock Exchange. The S&P 500 added five new 52-week highs and 44 new lows, while the NASDAQ Composite added 25 highs and 672 lows.