Wall St inches higher as growth stocks rebound, Dow up 130 pts

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US stocks edged higher on Monday as growth stocks rebounded after April’s rout, with investor focus squarely on the Federal Reserve meeting this week where policymakers are widely expected to raise interest rates.

Facebook-parent Meta Platforms climbed 4.1% after falling 9.8% last month, while Microsoft, Tesla and Nvidia  rose about 2% after sharp declines in April.

Amazon.com, however, slid 2.3%, adding to a 14% drop on Friday after a gloomy quarterly report.

Apple  dipped 1.7% as the iPhone maker faced a possible hefty fine after EU antitrust regulators charged it with restricting rivals’ access to its technology used for mobile wallets. 

Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors rose, with the S&P 500 communication services sector .SPLRCL leading the gains.

“The market is just going to be grinding along with not much clarity or direction until we hear from the Fed this week,” said Thomas Hayes, chairman at Great Hill Capital in New York.

Fed policymakers look set to deliver a series of aggressive interest rate hikes at least until the summer, with traders seeing a 92.8% chance of a 50-basis point hike on Wednesday when the policy decision will be released. IRPR

There won’t be economic or dot plot projections at this meeting, but the market will pay close attention to Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s press conference for clues on interest rates and balance sheet reduction. 

“Everyone knows (the rate hike) is coming … what people are a little bit unsettled about is what is the guidance going to look like from Powell. Is the next meeting going to be 50 basis points again, or is it going to go up to 75 basis points,” Hayes said.

The S&P 500 has fallen 12.9% so far in 2022, its steepest four-month decline to start any year since 1939, weighed down by rising bond yields, the conflict in Ukraine and pandemic-related lockdowns in China.

At 10:25 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average  was up 134.04 points, or 0.41%, at 33,111.25, the S&P 500 was up 13.26 points, or 0.32%, at 4,145.19, and the Nasdaq Composite  was up 40.55 points, or 0.33%, at 12,375.19.

The quarterly earnings season has been better-than-expected so far. Of the 275 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings till Friday, 80.4% have topped Wall Street’s expectations.

Pfizer Inc fell 1.3% after a large trial found its COVID-19 oral antiviral treatment Paxlovid was not effective at preventing coronavirus infections in people living with someone infected with the virus. 

Activision Blizzard climbed 3.0% after Warren Buffett said Berkshire Hathaway Inc  has taken a 9.5% stake in the “Call of Duty” game maker. 

Spirit Airlines  slid 8.6% after the ultra low cost carrier rejected JetBlue Airways Corp’s $33-per-share takeover offer, saying it had a low likelihood of winning approval from government regulators. 

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.50-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded one new 52-week high and 42 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 14 new highs and 267 new lows.

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