- Consumer confidence recovers in December
- The data shows a decline in home sales in November
- Nike bounces back with strong second-quarter results
- FedEx jumped on cost-cutting plans
- Indexes up: Dow 1.60%, S&P 1.49%, Nasdaq 1.54%
Dec 21 (Reuters) – Wall Street’s three major stock indexes closed higher on Wednesday for their biggest daily gains so far in December, helped by bullish Nike (NO.N) and FedEx (FDX.N) quarterly earnings, as well as improving consumer confidence and easing inflationary expectations from investors.
Shares of Nike Inc jumped 12% after that beating earnings expectations for its second quarter on strong holiday demand from North American shoppers, while FedEx ended up 3.4% and shares of cruise operator Carnival Corp. (CCL.N) jumped 4.7% after that publication smaller than expected quarterly loss.
Also the US consumer confidence rose to an eight-month high in December as inflation eased and the labor market remained strong, while expectations for 12-month inflation fell to 6.7%, the lowest level since September 2021.
“We’re seeing broad growth. That was helped by upbeat corporate commentary and improving consumer confidence,” said Angelo Kourkafas, investment strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis, referring to Nike and FedEx.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) rose 526.74 points, or 1.6%, to 33,376.48, the S&P 500 (.SPX) gained 56.82 points, or 1.49%, to 3,878.44 and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) added 162.26 points, or 1.54%, to 10,709.37.
Energy companies (.SPNY) were the biggest gainers among the 11 major S&P industrials, adding 1.89% as oil futures rose.
The weakest growth among sectors is consumer staples (.SPLRCS)which ended with a growth of 0.8%.
Still, Wednesday’s data also showed that the U.S. exists home sales fell 7.7% to a 2-1/2-year low in November as the housing market was hit by higher mortgage rates. But the data may be fueling investors’ hopes that the Fed may ease its tightening policy.
“At the macro level you have economic weakness, but at the micro level you have companies that are resilient and provide positive earnings expectations,” said Brian Price, head of investment management at Commonwealth Financial Network in Waltham, Massachusetts. “This combination will be positive.”
Fears of a recession after the U.S. central bank’s sustained rate hikes weighed heavily on stocks, and those fears put the S&P on track for its biggest annual decline since 2008 and a decline for December.
“There is still a lot of uncertainty and we are likely to see a lot of volatility early in the year as we may be in a mild recessionary environment,” Edward Jones’ Kourkafas said, but he believes the market has already priced in the weaker economy.
“We still have some headwinds ahead of us, but maybe we don’t need to rate into a recession twice.” So far what we’ve seen this year is already in the price of a mild recession.”
Advancers outnumber decliners on the NYSE by a ratio of 3.43 to 1; on the Nasdaq, a ratio of 2.10 to 1 favors the advancers.
S&P 500 posts 5 new 52-week highs and 3 new lows; The Nasdaq Composite recorded 69 new highs and 268 new lows.
On US exchanges, 9.81 billion shares changed hands, compared to the 11.16 billion average over the past 20 sessions.
Reporting by Sinéad Carew in New York, Shubham Batra, Amruta Khandekar, Ankika Biswas and Johann M Cherian in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Maju Samuel and Aurora Ellis
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