U.S. Stocks Finish Roller Coaster Ride Mostly Higher

Stocks went on a roller coaster ride during trading on Thursday, with the major averages swinging back and forth across the unchanged line after ending Wednesday’s trading narrowly mixed.

After seeing initial strength, the major averages turned lower over the course of morning trading before recovering in the afternoon.

The major averages all eventually ended the day in positive territory. The Dow rose 108.82 points or 0.3 percent to 33,153.91, the Nasdaq advanced 83.33 points or 0.7 percent to 11,590.40 and the S&P 500 climbed 21.27 points or 0.5 percent to 4,012.32.

The higher close on Wall Street may have reflected bargain hunting, with the Dow and the S&P 500 rebounding after ending the previous session at their lowest closing levels in a month.

Semiconductor stocks contributed to the advance, driving the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index up by 3.3 percent.

Nvidia (NVDA) posted a standout gain after the chipmaker reported better than expected fourth quarter results and provided upbeat revenue guidance for the current quarter.

Considerable strength was also visible among oil service stocks, which rebounded along with the price of crude oil.

With crude for April delivery jumping $1.44 to $75.39 a barrel, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index shot up by 2.2 percent.

Natural gas, computer hardware and networking stocks also saw notable strength on the day, while telecom stocks saw significant weakness.

Buying interest remained somewhat subdued, as interest rate concerns continued to hang over the markets following yesterday’s release of the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting.

The Fed minutes offered few surprised but reiterated that the central bank will continue to raise interest rates in its battle against inflation.

With the Fed warning about the impact of labor market tightness, negative sentiment may also have been generated in reaction to a Labor Department report showing an unexpected dip in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended February 18th.

The report said initial jobless claims edged down to 192,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 195,000.

The dip surprised economists, who had expected jobless claims to inch up to 200,000 from the 194,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Meanwhile, revised data released by the Commerce Department showed the U.S. economy grew by slightly less than previously estimated in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance on Thursday, with the Japanese markets closed for a holiday. China’s Shanghai Composite Index edged down by 0.1 percent, while South Korea’s Kospi advanced by 0.8 percent.

The major European markets also finished the day mixed. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.3 percent and the German DAX Index climbed by 0.5 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries showed a notable turnaround over the course of the session after seeing early weakness. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, fell by 4.4 basis points to 3.879 percent after reaching a high of 3.978 percent.

Looking Ahead

Trading on Friday may be impacted by reaction to a report on personal income and spending, which includes a reading on inflation said to be preferred by the Federal Reserve.

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