The major averages rose sharply on Friday as Treasury yields eased from their recent highs and investors weighed the cumulative impact from Fed hikes already implemented and digested this week's comments from the central bank. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 387 points, or 1.17%, to 33,390. The S&P 500 climbed 64 points or 1.61% to 4,045. The Nasdaq Composite gained 226 points or 1.97% to close at 11,689.
The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury note dipped below the 4% threshold. Traders have been watching 4% as the key level on the 10-year that could trigger another down move in stocks. At times this week when the 10-year rate rose above that point, stocks retreated.
The 10-year Treasury is a benchmark rate that influences mortgages and car loans, so a breakout in the yield could ripple through the economy.
"The stock market is very sensitive to bond yields at this point and looking for some respite to the recent upward moves in yields," said Yung-Yu Ma, BMO Wealth Management chief investment strategist. "There's a nervous anticipation to upcoming data releases for jobs and inflation after the difficult readings last month. The market is unlikely to have sustained traction until data points resume a cooling trend."
All of the major averages notched a winning week. The Dow posted a 1.75% gain and snapped a four-week losing streak. The S&P 500 closed up 1.90% on the week and its first positive week in the last four. The Nasdaq ended the week 2.58% higher.
Market sentiment got a boost Thursday after Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic said he thinks the central bank can keep its interest rate hikes to 25 basis points rather than the half-point increase favored by some other officials.
However, Fed Governor Christopher J. Waller struck a tougher tone in his comments to the Mid-Size Bank Coalition of America, raising the possibility of a higher terminal rate if inflation numbers don't cool. He referred to January's big payrolls report, which showed the economy added 517,000 jobs, as well as the latest reading from the consumer price index and personal consumption expenditures reports.
"If those data reports continue to come in too hot, the policy target range will have to be raised this year even more to ensure that we do not lose the momentum that was in place before the data for January were released," Waller said.
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