NEW YORK: Wall Street jumped ending a holiday-shortened and tumultuous week in positive territory as investors returned to technology stocks.
As March drew to a close, however, the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were on pace for their worst quarterly declines in more than two years.
‘Markets are closing out a weak quarter as they adjust to a new regime of higher rates, potential higher inflation and political uncertainty,’ said David Carter, chief investment officer at Lenox Wealth Advisors in New York. ‘Fundamentals, however, like economic growth and equity valuations, remain supportive.’
The year started strong, but early gains evaporated as the markets entered a correction over interest rate jitters, fears of a global trade war, and a selloff in the tech sector.
Tech stocks reversed course on Thursday as the S&P 500 information technology index rose 2.5 per cent and helped push the S&P 500 more than one per cent higher, with the Dow and Nasdaq also rallying.
Technology gains were led by Facebook, Apple , Alphabet and Microsoft shares.
‘Tech recovered after a weak few days as the sector remains one of the few to offer very strong growth in the near future,’ said Carter.
At the close of trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 254.69 points, or 1.07 per cent, at 24,103.11, the S&P 500 gained 35.87 points, or 1.38 per cent, to 2,640.87 and the Nasdaq Composite added 114.22 points, or 1.64 per cent, to 7,063.44.
Stocks shot up earlier in the week as comments from officials in the United States and China suggested the world’s two largest economies would renegotiate tariffs and trade imbalances, averting a trade war.
But trade war fears led global investors to cut their equity exposure to a four-month low in March and reduce their holdings of US stocks to the lowest in nearly two years, according to a Reuters poll.
Trading volume was light ahead of the long holiday weekend.
LONDON: Melrose’s successful bid for GKN helped the UK’s top share index finish the month on a positive note on Thursday and gave a mildly upbeat end to the FTSE 100’s worst quarter since 2011.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 was up 0.17 per cent on the day at 7,056.61 points as traders prepared for a market holiday.
On the European mainland Germany’s Dax was up1.3 per cent, and France’ CAC was up 0.76 per cent.
GKN surged about nine per cent in late trading after Melrose Industries announced it had narrowly clinched an 8 billion pound ($A14.3 billion) takeover of the British engineering firm after a three-month battle for control.
The FTSE 100 ended the first three months of 2018 with a loss of 8.2 per cent, its worst quarter since 2011 and making it the weakest-performing major European market so far this year.
TOKYO: Asian stocks sagged on Thursday after Wall Street slumped on an extended sell-off in tech firms, while the US dollar dipped as it lost some momentum after surging to a one-week high.
Shanghai rose 1.2 percent, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.2 percent.
Japan’s Nikkei was up 0.6 per cent after giving back earlier gains while South Korea’s KOSPI was up 0.7 percent.
WELLINGTON: The S&P/NZX 50 index on Thursday fell 0.82 per cent, to 8,319.07.