The S&P 500 finishes higher, led by defensive stocks

  • The Fed’s Collins sees a 75 basis point hike on the table
  • Grindr soars on market debut
  • Gap shares rise on positive results
  • Indices up: Dow 0.59%, S&P 0.48%, Nasdaq 0.01%

November 18 (Reuters) – Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index ended higher on Friday in a choppy trading session, as gains in defensive stocks overshadowed energy declines and investors shrugged off dovish comments from Federal Reserve officials about rate hikes.

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Chair Susan Collins said that with little sign of easing inflationary pressures, the Fed may need to hike rates another 75 basis points to get inflation under control.

On Thursday, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard sparked stock declines when he said the Fed needed to keep raising rates because its tightening to date had “limited impact on observed inflation.”

With Collins and then Bullard, “we had some very aggressive talks, but the market took it really well,” said Keith Lerner, co-chief investment officer at Trust Advisory Services. “It hasn’t hit the market down like it has in the past.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) rose 199.37 points, or 0.59%, to 33,745.69, the S&P 500 (.SPX) rose 18.78 points, or 0.48%, to 3,965.34 and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) added 1.11 points, or 0.01%, to 11,146.06.

Over the week, the S&P 500 fell 0.7%, slipping slightly after a strong month-long rally spurred by weaker-than-expected inflation data that raised hopes that the central bank might moderate its market-punishing rate hikes.

The Nasdaq fell 1.6% this week, while the Dow was little changed.

“Markets are in a kind of waiting pattern” ahead of jobs and other economic data, said Lauren Goodwin, economist and portfolio strategist at New York Life Investments.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., November 15, 2022. REUTERS/Brenda McDermid/File Photo

“What drives all stocks, of course, is Fed policy and the pull that rising interest rates have on the stock complex as a whole,” Goodwin said. “We’re not likely to see any real evidence of potentially easing wage pressures or inflationary pressures over the next few weeks.”

Among the sectors of the S&P 500, defensive groups with utilities led (.SPLRCU) up to 2%, real estate (.SPLRCR) Up 1.3% and healthcare (.SPXHC) 1.2% higher.

The energy sector (.SPNY) fell 0.9% as oil prices fell amid concerns over weaker demand in China and further hikes in US interest rates.

In company news, shares of gay dating app Grindr rose about 214% in its market debut after the company completed its merger with a special acquisition company.

gap inc (GPS.N) Shares rose 7.6% after the company beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly sales and earnings.

Live Nation Entertainment shares (LYV.N) fell 7.8% after the New York Times reported that the US Department of Justice is investigating whether Ticketmaster’s parent company abused its power over the multi-billion dollar live music industry.

Rising issues predominated on the NYSE at a 1.54 to 1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, a 1.13 to 1 ratio favored movers.

The S&P 500 posted 8 new 52-week highs and 3 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite posted 62 new highs and 141 new lows.

About 9.7 billion shares changed hands on US stock exchanges, compared to the daily average of 12 billion over the past 20 sessions.

Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf in New York, Shubham Batra, Ankika Biswas and Amruta Khandekar in Bengaluru; Edited by Vinay Dwivedi, Arun Koyyur and Grant McCool

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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