October 3, 2023

Brad Marolf

Business & Finance Wonders

Stocks Finish Best Week in Months; Dow Up More Than 380 Points

U.S. stocks rose Friday, notching their biggest weekly gains in months following a strong streak of earnings reports.

Economic data also helped reassure investors about the growth outlook. Data Friday showed retail sales unexpectedly rose in September, despite economists’ worries about the Delta variant of Covid-19 and the end of enhanced unemployment benefits.

The S&P 500 added 33.11 points, or 0.7%, to 4471.37 and jumped 1.8% for the week, posting its best weekly performance since July. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 382.20 points, or 1.1%, to 35294.76 and advanced 1.6% for the week, delivering its biggest weekly gain since June.

The technology-focused Nasdaq Composite ticked up 73.91 points, or 0.5%, to 14897.34 and climbed 2.2% for the week.

Bank stocks helped lead the market higher Friday.

Shares of

Goldman Sachs

Group jumped $14.87, or 3.8%, to $406.07 after the firm reported earnings of $5.38 billion in the third quarter, up 60% from the comparable period of 2020 and surpassing expectations from analysts.

Meanwhile, logistics company J.B. Hunt Transport Services rose $15.31, or 8.7%, to $190.55 after reporting a rise in third-quarter profits.

Shares of Alcoa climbed $7.40, or 15%, to $56.00 after the metals producer posted higher third-quarter sales Thursday, boosted by higher aluminum prices.

Moderna slipped $7.67, or 2.3%, to $324.21 after The Wall Street Journal reported the Food and Drug Administration is delaying a decision on authorizing the company’s Covid-19 vaccine for adolescents while it assesses the risk of a rare inflammatory heart condition.

While earnings this season have largely impressed investors so far, many say they remain cautious about the market’s outlook, citing fears that supply-chain blockages and a steep rise in energy prices will fuel more inflationary pressures. That in turn could push central banks to withdraw stimulus at a faster pace than currently forecast.

Data Wednesday showed a gauge of consumer prices rose more than expected in September. Meanwhile, energy markets extended a run-up Friday that has pushed oil and gas prices to multiyear highs and strained already snarled supply chains. Brent-crude futures, the benchmark in global oil markets, notched its eighth consecutive week of gains—its longest such streak since a 10-week period through April 30, 1999.

In the bond market, yields on 10-year Treasury notes rose to 1.574% Friday, from 1.519% Thursday. Yields rise when bond prices fall.

Correlations between different markets will remain in flux as investors debate the inflation outlook, said Richard McGuire, head of rates strategy at Rabobank. 

“We’ve seen an ebb and flow this week,” he said. Mr. McGuire expects the inflation burst to fade, as “high prices will sow the seed of their own downfall,” with consumers starting to spend less.

High inflation has triggered a debate about whether the U.S. is entering an inflationary period similar to the 1970s.

Overseas markets were broadly higher.

The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.7%, led by shares of energy producers and travel-and-leisure companies, which tend to be sensitive to the path of economic growth.

Shares of airlines including



Wizz Air

rose after the U.K. government said travelers returning to England from most countries would be able to take quick coronavirus tests starting later this month. Currently, rules require a more expensive test.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 1.8%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1.5% and China’s Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.4%.

Turkey’s lira fell 0.5% against the U.S. dollar. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fired three top central-bank officials this week, adding to pressure on the currency, which has tumbled almost 20% this year. The central bank cut its key interest rate in September, even as the annual pace of inflation hit almost 20%, raising concerns among investors that prices will keep rising at a rapid rate.

Stocks have rallied this week on better-than-expected earnings reports.


Richard Drew/Associated Press

Write to Joe Wallace at [email protected] and Akane Otani at [email protected]

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