NEW YORK, RAW – Wall Street’s main indexes have rallied as investors pile into banking and technology sectors that have suffered sharp losses this week on concerns about the fallout from the Ukraine crisis, with sentiment lifted by a fall in oil prices.
Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors advanced in early trading.
Financials climbed 3.4 per cent after declining 6.3 per cent in the past four sessions as market participants fretted over the impact of Western sanctions on Russian banks, assets and individuals over its invasion of Ukraine.
The S&P 500 banks index added 4.5 per cent on Wednesday, powered by a 5.4 per cent rise in Bank of America.
Megacap growth stocks Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Meta Platforms and Tesla gained between one per cent and 2.6 per cent to provide the biggest boost to the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq indexes.
Top Australian Brokers
Travel and leisure stocks surged the most. Carnival and United Airlines climbed 9.6 per cent and 9.8 per cent respectively, after plummeting this week as soaring oil prices threatened a nascent recovery.
The energy sector was the sole decliner, down 3.4 per cent as oil slipped below $125 following a sharp rally this week that helped it breach $130 a barrel.
Surging crude prices have rattled global markets, with investors worrying it could lead to higher inflation and slow economic growth when global central banks are looking to tighten monetary policies.
The US Federal Reserve is widely expected to raise interest rates at its March 15-16 meeting.
Sean O’Hara, president at Pacer ETFs, said the volatility was not surprising.
“We are in a period of extreme uncertainty on several fronts – Ukraine, energy, interest rates, and the economy,” he said.
“When you put all that together, it’s not surprising that one day you come to the conclusion that’s going to work itself out and we buy on that rumour and then the next day, everybody thinks it’s not going to work out so we sell on that theory.”
Russia said it would achieve its goal of ensuring Ukraine’s neutral status and would prefer to do that through talks.
Moscow announced a new ceasefire in Ukraine to let civilians flee besieged cities, but there were only limited signs of progress.
At 9.51am local time, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 577.24 points, or 1.77 per cent, at 33,209.88, the S&P 500 was up 74.98 points, or 1.80 per cent, at 4,245.68, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 279.68 points, or 2.19 per cent, at 13,075.23.
General Electric rose 4.7 per cent as the industrial company authorised a $3 billion share buyback program.
The CBOE volatility index, also known as Wall Street’s fear gauge, fell for the second straight session.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 3.62-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 5.39-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded two new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 19 new highs and 21 new lows.