Wall Street's main indexes jumped sharply on Friday as signs of slowing economic growth and a recent pullback in commodity prices tempered expectations for the Federal Reserve's rate-hike plans.
Financial markets have been roiled on worries that rapid rate hikes by the Fed to rein in 40-year-high inflation could cause a recession. Investors have been gauging when the market might hit its bottom after the benchmark S&P 500 earlier this month recorded a 20 percent drop from its January closing peak, confirming the common definition of a bear market.
"Some of the moves, the sellers just get exhausted so you don’t have as much capital moving out," said Shawn Cruz, head trading strategist at TD Ameritrade.
"This might be a little bit of a relief rally," Cruz said. "But I think I would not encourage anyone to start going in with both hands at the moment, because we have seen this repeatedly where these things can reverse themselves pretty quickly."
The S&P 500 gained 3.1 percent to 3,911, the Nasdaq Composite gained 3.3 percent to 11,607. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.7 percent to 31,500.
US consumer sentiment fell to a record low in June, but Americans saw a marginal improvement in the outlook for inflation, a survey showed on Friday. Data on Thursday pointed to slowing US business activity in June.
Helping ease inflation fears was a sharp drop in commodity prices this week. The Refinitiv/CoreCommodity Index, which measures prices for energy, agriculture, metals and other commodities, fell to a roughly two-month low on Thursday after hitting a multi-year peak earlier in June.
Fed funds futures traders are now pricing for the benchmark rate to rise to about 3.5 percent by March, down from expectations last week that it would increase to around 4 percent.
"The expectation of future rate hikes coming down is part of the equation that makes today’s equity market so strong," said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Bank stocks rallied after the Fed's annual "stress test" exercise showed that the lenders have enough capital to weather a severe economic downturn.
In company news, FedEx shares jumped after the parcel delivery company issued a stronger-than-expected full-year profit forecast. (Reuters)