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Nasdaq leads gains on Wall Street as interest rate worries ease


Traders work on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., January 5, 2023. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

The Nasdaq rose more than 2% on Monday with Big Tech and growth stocks spearheading gains as recent signs of a cooling labor market supported bets of a slower pace of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

Megacap growth stocks Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) and Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) gained over 2% each as U.S. Treasury yields declined. Inc (AMZN.O) rose 3.4% after Jefferies said it saw cost pressures easing for the e-commerce giant in the second half of the year.

Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) climbed 7% after the electric-vehicle maker indicated longer waiting times for some versions of the Model Y in China, signaling the recent price cuts could be stoking demand.

The gains pushed technology (.SPLRCT) to the top of the major S&P 500 sector indexes list, while consumer discretionary stocks (.SPLRCD) also rose with a near 2% gain.

The benchmark S&P 500 (.SPX) and the Nasdaq (.IXIC) closed the week higher on Friday after a moderation in wage increases and a decline in U.S. services activity in December buoyed hopes of a less hawkish stance from the Fed as well as a soft landing for the U.S. economy.

“The number of jobs created is working its way down slowly and wages are starting to calm down. Both of those are important for inflation coming under control, without necessarily careening the U.S economy to a recession,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley Financial.

The highly awaited U.S. Labor Department’s inflation report on Thursday is expected to show some moderation in year-on-year consumer prices in December.

Money market bets show 79% odds of a 25-basis point hike in the Fed’s February policy meeting, with the terminal rate expected at 4.92% by June.

The CPI report would be crucial in shaping expectations for when the Fed is close to the end of its tightening cycle and is likely to show inflation is starting to move down, Jon Maier, chief investment officer at Global X ETFs, said.

Other economic data such as weekly jobless claims and the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment report will also be in focus this week, as big U.S. banks kick off the quarterly earnings season on Friday.

A slew of Fed officials including Chair Jerome Powell are due to speak this week, with investors ready to parse their commentary for more clues on the rate-hike trajectory.

U.S.-listed shares of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd rose 3.7% on news that Ant Group’s founder Jack Ma will give up control of the Chinese fintech giant in an overhaul.

At 11:41 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) was up 229.32 points, or 0.68%, at 33,859.93, the S&P 500 (.SPX) was up 48.49 points, or 1.24%, at 3,943.57, and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) was up 214.41 points, or 2.03%, at 10,783.70.

Macy’s Inc (M.N) and Lululemon Athletica Inc (LULU.O) fell 7.7% and 7.9%, respectively, following dour holiday-quarter forecasts from both the retailers.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 4.45-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 2.54-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 12 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 107 new highs and 18 new lows.

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