Stocks End Week on High Note Before Fed Meeting: Markets Wrap

Updated on
  • Traders weigh mixed reports on factories, consumers, growth
  • Treasury yields advance; euro declines; Texas crude jumps
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U.S. stocks closed higher for the first time all week as traders digested positive factory output and consumer sentiment reports before next week’s Federal Reserve meeting. Ten-year Treasury yields rose and the dollar gained.

The S&P 500 broke out of longest slump of the year Friday, led by energy stocks as Texas crude spiked above $62 a barrel. The benchmark fluctuated late in the session thanks in part to “quadruple witching,” when futures and options contracts on indexes and individual stocks expire.

The last batches of economic data released before the Fed meeting were mixed. U.S. factory production bounced back in February, exceeding estimates, according to Federal Reserve data, and consumer sentiment jumped to its highest since 2004. But unexpectedly weak February retail sales pushed down forecasts for the annualized pace of expansion in the first quarter.

“We’re probably at the peak of growth right now, over to a gentle rollover. I wouldn’t say it’s going to be a growth scare where the markets are going to say, ‘Holy smokes! We’re going to sell off 10 percent in equities because the Fed’s overtightened,”’ Barbara Reinhard, head of asset allocation for multi-asset strategies at Voya Investment Management, said by phone. “But what this probably does is, it probably takes some of the interest rate tightening concerns and fears, which got so overblown in January, out of the markets, and that’s a good thing.”

European equities gained after Asian shares slipped. The euro pared an advance after the region’s inflation figures were revised downward. The yen gained, gold fell.

Terminal users can read more in our markets blog.

These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • The S&P 500 Index gained 0.1 percent as of 4 p.m. New York time.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 0.2 percent.
  • The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose 0.3 percent.
  • Germany’s DAX Index gained 0.4 percent.
  • The MSCI Emerging Market Index sank 0.3 percent.

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index climbed 0.1 percent to its highest in almost two weeks.
  • The euro fell 0.2 percent to $1.2286.
  • The British pound rose 0.1 percent to $1.3934.
  • The Japanese yen climbed 0.3 percent to 106.06 per dollar.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries climbed two basis points to 2.84 percent.
  • Germany’s 10-year yield fell one basis point to 0.57 percent.
  • Britain’s 10-year yield fell one basis point to 1.429 percent.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude rose 1.8 percent to $62.28 a barrel, the highest in more than a week.
  • Gold fell 0.2 percent to $1,313.72 an ounce.

— With assistance by Adam Haigh, and Samuel Potter

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