All three Wall Street benchmarks closed higher on Wednesday, a fourth straight session of gains after a turbulent start to the year, aided by upbeat earnings from Google-parent Alphabet and chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices.
Alphabet rose after reporting record quarterly sales on Tuesday, and said it plans to undertake a 20-to-one stock split – a move which Neil Wilson, chief market analyst for Markets.com, said should make it more appealing to retail investors.
All Eyes Now on Meta, Amazon
Attention now turns to Facebook-parent Meta Platforms Inc., which rose before reporting results after the bell. Amazon.com Inc. dipped ahead of its earnings date on Thursday.
Last month, the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell as much as 19% from its all-time high in November as investors dumped highly valued growth stocks on prospects of faster-than-expected rate hikes.
Traders are betting on five rate hikes this year after hawkish comments from the U.S. Federal Reserve in January.
“There’s a huge portion of the tech market, and the growth market, that is commanding fairly extreme multiples, which probably needs a little air taken out of the tires,” said Jason Pride, chief investment officer of private wealth at Glenmede, adding such a move was “healthy.”
An exception to this, he argued, would be the biggest five or six technology names, given their more modest valuations and better fundamentals.
Tech earnings provide an opportunity for this to happen, with ripple effects being felt by peers.
Advanced Micro Devices Inc climbed after the company on Tuesday forecast 2022 revenue above expectations, following strong quarterly demand for its semiconductors, despite global supply snags.
The positive sentiment extended to other chipmakers including Nvidia Corp, Qualcomm Inc and Micron Technology Inc.
However, PayPal Holdings Inc slumped after it forecast first-quarter revenue and profit well below expectations, dragging down other financial technology and payments firms, including Block Inc, Affirm Holdings Inc and SoFi Technologies.
Most S&P Sectors Higher
Overall, most of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were trading higher, with communication services leading gains, on the back of Alphabet’s performance. It was also aided by Match Group Inc, which rose as investors picked up the Tinder owner on a belief that the Omicron variant would not impact its business as much as previously feared.
According to preliminary data, the S&P 500 gained 42.77 points, or 0.91%, to end at 4,589.03 points, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 67.09 points, or 0.46%, to 14,413.10. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 211.07 points, or 0.60%, to 35,624.21.
The reassurance from strong earnings fed through into Wall Street’s fear index, the VIX, which recorded a fifth straight decline, after hitting its highest close in a year on Jan. 26.
Markets in 2022 have been choppy, as investors seek to position themselves for rising rates to tackle inflation, as well as lingering pandemic influences on the economy and geopolitical tension in Europe.
“The markets are trying to piece all this together,” said Pride. “It almost feels like a ‘deer-in-headlights’ effect right now, where there are too many cross-currents to try and triangulate quickly.”
Extreme Market Volatility
He added the market is likely to bounce around for the immediate future, as investors digest these various inputs.
An unexpected decline in private payrolls on Wednesday helped keep U.S. Treasury yields stable as investors weighed its potential impact on Friday’s broader jobs report.
Banks including JP Morgan Chase & Co, Citigroup Inc and Bank of America Corp lost ground.
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