Stocks rose again on Friday, as Wall Street closed out a winning March and first quarter of the year despite a long list of worries being thrown at it:
- The Dow rose 415 points, or 1.2%, to 33,274.
- The S&P 500 rose 58 points, or 1.4%, to 4,109.
- The Nasdaq rose 208 points, or 1.7%, to 12,221.
The benchmark S&P 500 (about 7%) and the Nasdaq (about 16%) easily registered quarterly gains, while the Dow (less than 1%) eked one out as well, per the Wall Street Journal and CNBC. It's the S&P's second winning quarter in a row after tumbling through most of last year on worries about high interest rates meant to get inflation under control, per the AP. Friday's gains came after a report showed inflation across the US slowed in February, though it was still high relative to history. A continued slowdown could give the Federal Reserve more leeway to take it easier on interest rates after jacking them higher at a furious pace over the last year.
The overriding mood in the market seems to be that the “Fed blinked and off we rally into April” before waiting to see if a recession or new panics around commercial real estate or something else awaits in the second half of the year, investment strategist Michael Hartnett wrote in a BofA Global Research report. Expectations for an easier Fed have helped Big Tech stocks in particular because high-growth stocks are seen as some of the biggest beneficiaries of lower rates. That's helped to prop up the S&P 500 and other indexes where Big Tech stocks play an outsized role because of their massive size.
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