U.S. stock benchmarks traded higher Friday, putting equities on track to bounce from a selloff in the previous session triggered by a continued drop in Treasury yields and doubts about the global economic recovery from the pandemic.
What are major indexes doing?
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 217 points, or 0.6%, to 34,631.
- The S&P 500 traded up 22 points, or 0.5%, at 4,343.
- The Nasdaq Composite Index added 31 points, or 0.2%, to trade at 14,588.
On Thursday, stocks retreated but ended the day off session lows. The Dow closed 259.86 points lower, off 0.7%, at 34,421.93, after dropping more than 500 points at its session low. The S&P 500 ended 0.9% lower, while the Nasdaq Composite gave up 0.7% a day after both indexes closed at their latest in a string of records.
Stocks were attempting to regain their footing after equities slumped Thursday on worries over the global growth outlook as some countries struggle with the coronavirus pandemic. The concerns about the pandemic were blamed — along with myriad other factors — for a U.S. Treasury debt rally that sent long-term yields down to their lowest levels since February this week.
Yields were edging back up Friday though, with the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield up 5 basis points at 1.342%. The yield hit a five-month low below 1.25% on Thursday.
Coronavirus-related restrictions were tightened in Asia and Europe. Seoul’s pandemic alert was lifted to its highest level, the Netherlands announced new steps and social-distancing rules were tightened in Sydney, a day after Japan declared a state of emergency that will effectively rule out spectators at the 2020 Olympics.
While concerns about the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 were cited as part of the reason behind the worries over the global economic outlook, some analysts questioned whether the struggle with the pandemic in some Asian and emerging market countries in particular would be enough to derail the global equity market rally.
In the end, falling yields should be a positive for stocks, argued Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote, in a Friday note. Falling yields hint that inflation and the potential for a more aggressive than expected withdrawal of easy money policies by the Federal Reserve are a fading cause for concern, she said.
“The market rhetoric is clearly shifting from transitory inflation to transitory recovery, and that’s probably what keeps the inflows in U.S. Treasurys elevated, combined with a seasonally low issuance of Treasurys in July and the Fed coming back to the market after the July 4 break,” the analyst said.
“ As such, falling Treasury yields and rising equity prices is the most reasonable market reaction, although it’s worth noting that this time, the rising COVID concerns are also accompanied by rising COVID cases,” Ozkardeskaya wrote.
Market bulls have also argued that the kickoff of the second-quarter U.S. corporate earnings reporting season next week could also underpin markets. Companies in the S&P 500 are expected to see a 63.6% increase in earnings in the second quarter from a year before, which would mark the biggest 12-month climb since the fourth quarter of 2009, according to FactSet analysts.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration on Friday was set to announce a new executive order to crack down on anticompetitive practices in the technology industry. The order includes 72 actions and recommendations across a dozen federal agencies, the report said.
The U.S. economic calendar is light, featuring only May wholesale inventories at 10 a.m. Eastern. Economists expect it to show a 1.1% rise.
Which companies are in focus?
- Philip Morris International Inc. announced plans to buy Vectura Group PLC, a U.K. pharmaceuticals business specializing in inhaled medicines, for $1.24 billion in cash, part of its push to expand beyond tobacco and nicotine. Philip Morris shares rose 1.7% in premarket trade.
- Shares of Levi Strauss & Co. after the jeans company late Thursday announced results that topped Wall Street estimates and raised its forecast for the year. Its stock was up 3.5%.
How are other assets faring?
- The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, a measure of the currency against six major rivals, was down 0.2%.
- Oil futures headed sharply higher on Friday, with the U.S. benchmark CL00 advancing 1.5% to trade at $74.03 a barrel. Gold GC00 was trading modestly higher, up $2.90, or 0.2%, at $1,803.40 an ounce.
- European equities rebounded after Thursday’s declines, with the Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP up 0.8% and London’s FTSE 100 UKX trading0.6% higher.
- In Asia, the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP slipped less than 0.1%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI rose 0.7% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 NIK dropped 0.6% in Friday action.