U.S. stocks bounce, Dow rises 250 points as investors weigh upbeat economic data

U.S. stocks traded higher Tuesday, led by mega tech stocks, with data suggesting the economy remains resilient despite higher interest rates as investors approach the end of the second quarter and the first half of the year.

What’s happening

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average
    rose 255 points, or 0.8%, to 33,970.

  • The S&P 500
    was up 51 points, or 1.2%, at 4,380.

  • The Nasdaq Composite
    gained 226 points, or 1.7%, trade at 13,562.

On Monday, the Nasdaq Composite led indexes lower, falling 1.2%, while the S&P 500 shed 0.5% and the Dow posted a fractional loss.

What’s driving markets

Stocks were holding gains Tuesday after a run of mostly positive economic data, including readings on durable-goods orders, home sales, and consumer confidence.

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The S&P 500 index has fallen in five of the past six sessions amid lingering concerns about an economic slowdown and some profit taking by fund managers before the end of the month and first half of the year in the wake of sturdy gains in certain sectors in 2023.

This coming Friday’ marks the end of the second quarter and first half of 2023. The Nasdaq has gained almost 16% in the quarter, and is on pace for its best first half in 40 years. The S&P 500 and Dow are on track to finish the quarter up nearly 10% and 5%, respectively.

“The last trading week of both the quarter and the half-year will usually result in some portfolio rebalancing, particularly given the strength of the megacap technology stocks so far this year,” said Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor.

“Indeed, the Nasdaq bore the brunt of this switch [Monday] as investors chose to take some profit after a strong run which has seen the tech index rebound strongly after a torrid [bad] 2022,” Hunter added.

Still, as stocks bounce on Tuesday, Mark Lehmann, chief executive at JMP Securities, a Citizens company, said he expects more and more companies to think about 2023 as as an opportunity.

“You look at the rally even going into the end of the quarter, I think that kind of optimism is pervading the markets,” Lehmann said.

See: The stock market is headed for a big first-half gain. What history says that means for the rest of 2023.

However, fears that the Federal Reserve will keep borrowing costs higher for longer have weighed on sentiment.

The Fed is expected to raise its policy interest rate by 25 basis points to a range of 5.25% to 5.50% toward the end of July, and not to start reducing the rate until spring 2024, according to recent market pricing.

Helping risk appetite on Tuesday were comments from China’s premier Li Qiang, who said the world’s second-largest economy remains on track to achieve its annual growth target of around 5% and that Beijing would roll out policies to expand domestic demand and open markets.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index
rallied 1.9% and industrial commodities, such as copper
moved higher.

Economic data

  • Orders for manufactured U.S. goods jumped 1.7% in May and rose for the third month in a row, boosted by strong demand for passenger planes and new cars. Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had forecast a 0.9% decline. Durable goods are items meant to last a long time.

  • The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city house-price index rose 0.9% in April, as compared with the previous month. 

  • U.S. new home sales rose 12.2% to an annual rate of 763,000 in May, from a revised 680,000 in the prior month, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. The jump exceeded expectations on Wall Street. Economists had forecast new home sales to total 675,000 in May.

  • The Conference Board’s consumer-confidence index jumped 7.2 points in June to a 17-month high of 109.7, rebounding from a six-month low. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast the index to register 104.

Companies in focus

  • Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. 
    shares fell 9% after the drugstore chain and healthcare-services company reported fiscal third-quarter profit that missed expectations and cut its full-year outlook, citing “challenging consumer and macroeconomic conditions, and lower COVID-19 vaccine and testing volumes.”

  • Delta Air Lines Inc. 
    shares rose 6% after the airline raised guidance for 2023 and reiterated its guidance for 2024 in a presentation released ahead of an analyst day later Tuesday. 

  • American Equity Investment Life Holding Co.’s
    stock jumped 17.5%, after Brookfield Reinsurance Ltd. offered to buy the annuity provider in a $4.3 billion deal.

  • Lordstown Motors Corp.
    shares slumped 13% after the electric-vehicle maker filed for bankruptcy protection.

  • Snowflake Inc.
    shares gained 4.6% after announcing partnerships with Nvidia and Microsoft
    for artificial-intelligence uses.

—Jamie Chisholm contributed to the report.

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