Damian J. Troise and Alex Veiga
NEW YORK (AP) — Stock ended another bumpy week with a gain Friday, but not enough to keep the market from lodging its sixth weekly drop in a row, the longest such streak since 2011.
The S&P 500 climbed 2.4%, led by more gains in the highly volatile technology sector. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 255 points, or 0.8%, to 31,990 and the Nasdaq rose 3%. Both indexes are also headed for weekly losses.
Markets have been slumping since late March as traders worry that the Federal Reserve may not succeed in its delicate mission of slowing the economy enough to rein in inflation without causing a recession.
Technology stocks led the gains. Apple rose 2.4% and Microsoft rose 1.5%. The sector has been behind much of the broader market’s volatility throughout the week and has been slipping overall as investors prepare for higher interest rates, which tend to weigh most heavily on the priciest stocks.
Twitter fell 9.4% after Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he was putting his deal to acquire the social media company on hold. Tesla rose 4.8%.
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Will the Fed raise interest rates again?
Despite Friday’s gains, markets have been slumping as investors adjust to the highest inflation in four decades and the higher interest rates the Federal Reserve is using to fight it. The Labor Department issued reports this week that confirmed persistently high consumer prices and wholesale prices that affect businesses.
“There’s a lot of issues and rising inflation with a tightening Fed is not the greatest of market conditions, but at some point it’s priced in,” said Jay Hatfield, CEO of Infrastructure Capital Advisors.
Businesses have been struggling to keep up with increased demand for a wide range of products and goods amid supply chain and production problems. They’ve been raising prices on everything from food to clothing, which has been putting pressure on consumers and raising concerns about a pullback in spending and slower economic growth.
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The Fed is attempting to temper the impact from rising inflation by pulling its benchmark short-term interest rate off its record low near zero, where it spent most of the pandemic. It also said it may continue to raise rates by double the usual amount at upcoming meetings. Investors are concerned that the central bank could cause a recession if it raises rates too high or too quickly.
Meanwhile, China’s decision to lock down major cities amid worries about a COVID-19 resurgence have further strained supply chains and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine raised already high energy and food costs globally.
Retailers and communications companies also made solid gains. Amazon jumped 4% and Google’s parent rose 2.4%. Bond yields rose significantly. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.93% from 2.82% late Thursday.
The price of U.S. crude oil rose 4.1% to settle at $110.49 per barrel. It’s up about 50% for the year.
Investors have also been focusing on the latest round of corporate earnings to gain more insight into how inflation is impacting businesses and consumers. Several major retailers will report their results next week, including Walmart, Target and Home Depot.
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