U.S. stocks rose Thursday morning as investors tried to prevent this week’s losing streak in equity markets from extending into another day as rate jitters and recession chatter hamper a seasonally bullish period. for Wall Street.
The S&P 500 (^GSPC) climbed 0.4% while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) rebounded 130 points, also around 0.4%. The technology-focused Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) advanced by the same margin.
Renewed concerns about a prolonged period of higher interest rates ahead and the prospect of an economic slowdown led to a pessimistic start to December, a historically positive month for equities.
The benchmark S&P 500 index posted its fifth consecutive day of loss in Wednesday’s trade, taking the blue-chip index’s losses to 3.6% in the first seven days of the month so far. A 4.4% loss for the Nasdaq over the same period marks its worst first week of December since 1975, according to data from Bespoke Investment Group.
In other markets, US Treasuries held steady after the 10-year yield slipped below 3.5% to a nearly three-month low. Oil rose after the commodity plunged more than 10% this week to trade near year-ago levels. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures climbed almost 3%. The rise comes after the Keystone pipeline system shut down amid a leak in a Midwestern creek.
Meanwhile, unemployment insurance filings rose slightly last week. Initial jobless claims, the most timely snapshot of the labor market, stood at 230,000 for the week ended Dec. 3, up 4,000 from the revised level of the previous week, Thursday showed. Department of Labor figures.
On the corporate side, shares of GameStope (GME) rose 3%, even as the meme stock favorite reported worse-than-expected quarterly results.
Shares of Rent the Runway (RENT) jumped 20% after the company raised its full-year revenue forecast and announced results that beat Wall Street estimates. CEO Jennifer Hyman also said the company’s restructuring plan is “substantially complete” and will focus on “substantially improving cash burn” going forward.
Another round of revenue is on the agenda for merchants after the bell on Tuesday, with headliners such as Broadcom (AVGO), Costco (COST), Lululemon (LULU) and DocuSign (DOCU) on deck to signal. Costco is Yahoo Finance’s Company of the Year.
Investors are approaching the Federal Reserve’s highly anticipated final rate-setting meeting of 2022 next week. US central bank officials are due to meet on December 13-14 and are expected to raise their benchmark interest rate by 50 basis points.
With the Fed’s next policy move largely priced in, uncertainty remains about where the policy rate will need to rise, how long the U.S. economy will withstand a higher interest rate environment, and whether that could trigger a recession. Major Wall Street banks, as well as traders, are pricing a pause at around 5%, but some have warned that rates could rise if economic and labor market momentum continues at the current pace.
“We don’t yet believe the Federal Open Markets Committee is ready to signal that the end of rate hikes is coming soon, but mathematically, with the dot chart in hand, December’s step toward ‘tightly enough’ will put them at only 75 basis points from the Summary of Economic Projections (SEP) median terminal rate,” UBS economist Jonathan Pingle said in a recent note. “The president seems likely to remind everyone that the SEP is not not a commitment and depends on the evolution of the economy and the data.”
More price data is due out ahead of the meeting and will give traders – and Fed officials – some insight into the inflation trend. The Producer Price Index (PPI), a measure of inflation at the wholesale level, is due out on Friday, while the all-important Consumer Price Index (CPI) is due out on Tuesday, the first day of the Fed meeting.
Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc
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