S&P 500 Surges Above Key Level On Fed Chief Powell, But Inflation, Jobs Report Loom

Dow Jones futures were little changed overnight, as were S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures. Salesforce.com headlined earnings overnight, but investors will focus on Thursday’s PCE inflation report after Fed chief Jerome Powell sparked a tech-led stock market rally on Wednesday .


The pace of rate hikes could start to slow at the December meeting, Fed Chief Powell said on Wednesday, providing more explicit support for a smaller increase at the next meeting. But Powell stuck to his point of view that the federal funds rate will likely reach 5% or more. The current federal funds rate range is 3.75% to 4%. Powell also noted that many inflation-promoting factors were easing. The Fed chief, who suggested a recession might be needed, said a “soft landing” is still possible.

The Nasdaq led the way, with Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), Nvidia (NVDA), You’re here (TSLA) and parent Google Alphabet (GOOGL) all exceeding the composite. Notably, the S&P 500 index climbed to clear the 200-day moving average, a key resistance zone.

Investors will get the PCE price index for October on Thursday, with the November jobs report due Friday morning.

So while Wednesday’s action was encouraging, investors should wait for the market’s reaction to the Fed’s critical data.

Key wins

Salesforce.com (RCMP), Snowflake (SNOW) and Box (BOX) led a number of software revenue reports. Pure storage (PSTG) and Victoria’s Secret (VSCO) also reported.

CRM stock fell sharply in overnight trading as Salesforce Revenue Exceeded but the advice was light. Co-CEO Bret Taylor will step down, leaving Marc Benioff as sole CEO. SNOW stock initially plunged into prolonged action on Snowflake Income Tips, but significantly reduces losses. Box stock was little changed as EPS just overshot and sales fell slightly.

PSTG stock rose slightly overnight after Pure Storage leads the third quarter and high advice. Shares had closed down around 1% after plunging intraday on weak earnings and guidance from NetApp (NTAP). VSCO stock fell slightly as Victoria’s Secret earnings topped, but sales just lagged.

Early Thursday, General dollar (CEO) and Kroger (KR) are present. Chinese electric vehicle manufacturers Nio (NIO), Li-Auto (LI) and Xpeng (XPEV) report November sales, with these stocks and other Chinese names rising on Wednesday on Covid reopening hopes.

Inflation Report

The Commerce Department will release the PCE price index, the Fed’s preferred gauge of inflation, at 8:30 a.m. ET as part of the income and spending report.

The October PCE price index is expected to post a 0.4% increase from September. Year-over-year, PCE inflation is expected to ease to 6% from September’s 6.2%. Core PCE, which excludes power and energy, is expected to rise 0.3%. The core PCE inflation rate is expected to drop to 5% from September’s 5.1%.

The PCE inflation report, along with the November jobs report on Friday, will help shape Fed rate hike expectations. The consumer price index for November will be released on December 13, a day before the announcement of the Fed’s December meeting.

Earlier Wednesday, ADP reported a sharp slowdown in private sector hiring in November. Additionally, the JOLTs survey showed that job postings fell more than expected in October. Q3 GDP growth was revised upwards more than expected, as was the report’s inflation gauge.

Dow Jones Futures Today

Dow Jones futures were flat against fair value, with CRM shares holding back the blue chips. S&P 500 futures climbed 0.1% and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 0.1%.

Remember that overnight action in Futures contracts on Dow and elsewhere does not necessarily translate into actual trading over the next stock Exchange session.

Join the experts at IBD as they analyze actionable stocks in the stock market rally on IBD Live

Stock market rally

The stock market rally was mixed for much of Wednesday’s session, then took off on comments from Fed Chief Powell, closing at session highs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 2.2% on Wednesday stock market trading. The S&P 500 index jumped 3.1%. The Nasdaq composite jumped 4.4%. The small cap Russell 2000 rose 2.7%.

Apple stock climbed 4.9% and Google stock gained 6.1%, both back above their 50-day mark. Microsoft and Nvidia shares, already above their 50-day lines, jumped 6.2% and 8.2% respectively. Tesla stock rose 7.7%, resuming its 21-day line.

U.S. crude oil prices jumped 3% to $80.55 a barrel, but fell 6.9% for the month. China Covid reopening hopes also lifted copper futures.

Treasury yields and Fed rate hike odds

The 10-year Treasury yield reversed lower, falling 5 basis points to 3.7%. The two-year Treasury yield, more closely tied to Fed policy, fell to 4.33%, though Powell expects a top federal funds rate of at least 5%.

The probability of a 50 basis point Fed rate hike is now around 79% versus 66% after Tuesday. Markets still see another half-point move as a slight favorite in February, but the odds of a quarter-point move have exceeded 45%.

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From best ETFsthe Innovator IBD 50 ETF (FFTY) rose 1.8%, while the Innovator IBD Breakout Opportunities ETF (FIGHT) climbed 2%. The iShares Expanded Tech-Software Sector ETF (VIG) jumped 4.4%, with Microsoft and CRM stocks being the two main components. The VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH) jumped 5.7%, with Nvidia stock topping the list.

SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF (XME) rose 3.75% and the Global X US Infrastructure Development ETF (PAVE) increased by 2.4%. The SPDR Energy Select ETF (XLE) edged up 0.5% and the Financial Select SPDR ETF (XLF) increased by 1.7%. SPDR Healthcare Sector Fund (XLV) added 2.4%.

Reflecting more speculative history stocks, ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK) jumped 7.7% and ARK Genomics ETF (ARKG) 6.5%. Tesla stock remains a major holding in Ark Invest’s ETFs.

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Market rally analysis

The stock market rally made a big bullish move in volume on Wednesday on comments from Fed Chief Powell.

The S&P 500 index rebounded near its 21-day line to break above the 4,000 level and cross above its 200-day line for the first time in seven months.

The Nasdaq composite, the laggard of the market rally, led the rise on Wednesday. It recovered its 21-day line and the 11,000 level to settle at a two-month closing high. Shares of Apple, Microsoft, Google, Nvidia and Tesla posted strong gains on Wednesday, but it’s unclear which of them will be the current uptrend leader.

The Russell 2000, which had undermined its 21-day intraday line, rebounded to resume its 200-day line. The Dow, which led the current market rally, is back to a new seven-month high.

The advancers beat the losers with large-scale gains. Many top stocks that had come under pressure firmed on Wednesday.

Although there was plenty of positive action on Wednesday, the S&P 500 remains below its 200-day moving average. Thursday’s October PCE inflation report and Friday’s November jobs report could reinforce Wednesday’s bullish bounce or trigger a bearish retreat.

Keep in mind that the current market rally saw many big gains in one day, but then struggled to progress over the next few days or weeks.

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What to do now

The stock market rally had a strong session, with major indices and stocks making encouraging moves.

Investors were likely tempted to increase their exposure on Wednesday, and that could work.

But there are still good reasons not to increase exposure yet. The S&P 500 is above its 200-day line, but not decisively. This would likely mean going over a long falling trendline on a weekly chart. Breaking decisively above this zone could be a strong signal that the current uptrend is more than a bear market rally.

But that will require a positive reaction to the upcoming PCE inflation data and jobs report.

Investors should work hard on their watchlists, looking at promising stocks from various sectors. But definitely stay engaged. The market rally could be at a turning point, but which way will it turn.

Lily The big picture every day to stay in tune with market direction and key stocks and sectors.

Please follow Ed Carson on Twitter at @IBD_ECarson for stock market updates and more.


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