WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - After ending the previous session little changed, stocks moved sharply higher during trading on Friday. With the strong upward move on the day, the major averages partly offset the sell-off seen over the past several sessions.
The major averages threatened an afternoon pullback but managed to hold on to strong gains. The Dow jumped 466.36 points or 1.5 percent to 32,196.66, the Nasdaq spiked 434.04 points or 3.8 percent to 11,805.00 and the S&P 500 surged 93.81 points or 2.4 percent to 4,023.89.
Despite the rebound on the day, the major averages still posted steep losses for the week. The Nasdaq plummeted by 2.8 percent, the S&P 500 plunged by 2.4 percent and the Dow tumbled by 2.1 percent.
The rally on Wall Street came as traders once again looked to go bargain hunting following the sharp decline shown by the markets over the past month.
The Dow and the S&P 500 ended Thursday's trading well off their lows of the session but still finished the day at their lowest closing levels in over a year.
The S&P 500 also ended the session down by 18 percent compared to its record closing high in early January, just shy of the 20 percent plunge widely used as the technical definition of a bear market.
While recent bargain hunting efforts have largely been thwarted by worries about the Federal Reserve aggressively raising interest rates in an effort to combat elevated inflation, traders seemed to shrugging off those concerns.
The markets have also shrugged off a report from the University of Michigan showing consumer sentiment has deteriorated by much more than expected in the month of May.
The report showed the consumer sentiment index tumbled to 59.1 in May from 65.2 in April. Economists had expected the index to edge down to 64.0.
With the much bigger than expected decrease, the consumer sentiment index slumped to its lowest level since hitting 55.8 in August of 2011.
A separate report released by the Labor Department showed imports prices were unexpectedly unchanged in the month of April.
The Labor Department said import prices came in flat in April after surging by an upwardly revised 2.9 percent in March.
Economists had expected import prices to climb by 0.6 percent compared to the 2.6 percent jump originally reported for the previous month.
The report also showed the annual rate of growth in imports prices slowed to 12.0 percent in April from an upwardly revised 13.0 percent in March.
Semiconductor stocks showed a substantial move to the upside on the day, extending the modest rebound seen over the course of the previous session.
The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index soared by 5.1 percent after hitting its lowest intraday level in over a year during trading on Thursday.
Significant strength was also visible among airline stocks, as reflected by the 5 percent spike by the NYSE Arca Airline Index. The index bounced off a two-month closing low.
Oil service stocks also turned in a strong performance on the day, moving sharply higher along with the price of crude oil.
With crude for June delivery surging $4.36 to $110.49 a barrel, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index jumped by 4.6 percent.
Networking, brokerage, computer hardware and retail stocks also saw considerable strength on the day, moving notably higher along with most of the other major sectors.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved sharply higher during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index surged up by 2.6 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index spiked by 2.7 percent.
The major European markets also showed strong moves to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index jumped by 2.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index soared by 2.5 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively.
In the bond market, treasuries gave back ground after moving sharply higher over the past few sessions. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, jumped 11.8 basis points to 2.935 percent.
Economic data is likely to attract attention next week, with traders reacting to reports on retail sales, industrial production, housing starts and existing home sales.
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