Stock Market Today: Dow Ekes Out Gain as Energy, Chip Stocks Power Ahead

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Stock Market Today: Dow Ekes Out Gain as Energy, Chip Stocks Power Ahead
Credit: © Reuters.

By Yasin Ebrahim -- The Dow eked out a gain Thursday, to remain on course for a fifth-straight weekly gain as rallying chip stocks pushed tech higher even as a Federal Reserve official talked up the idea of another large rate hike next month.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.1%, or 18 points, the S&P 500 was gained 0.2% and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.2%. 

Semiconductor stocks climbed more than 2%, led by a 31% surge in Wolfspeed (NYSE: WOLF ) after the semiconductor products maker reported better-than-expected quarterly results and upbeat guidance.

ON Semiconductor Corporation (NASDAQ: ON ), II-VI (NASDAQ: IIVI ), and Marvell Technology (NASDAQ: MRVL ) were also among the biggest gainers in the chip sector.

Energy stocks also played a big role in the broader market climb as oil prices continued to ride, easing fears of the U.S. recession higher.

Devon Energy (NYSE: DVN ), Halliburton (NYSE: HAL ), and APA Corporation (NASDAQ: APA ), were up sharply, with the latter more than 8%.

Data on Thursday showed the labor market remained robust and manufacturing activity rebounded.

Initial jobless claims fell to 250,000 from 252,000 last week, below the consensus of 265,000.

The Philly Fed index rose to a reading of 6.2 from -12.3 in August, topping economists’ forecast of -5, helping to alleviate worries about a significant slowdown in manufacturing following data earlier this week showing a steep decline in activity in the New York area.

The stronger economic data have some Federal Reserve members backing the idea of the larger rate hike next month as inflation remains elevated.

“We should continue to move expeditiously to a level of the policy rate that will put significant downward pressure on inflation,” Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard told the Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

The comments come as investors continue to price in the prospect of a less hawkish 50 basis points at the September meeting, but Fed chairman Jerome Powell is likely to push back against the idea of a Fed pivot to a less hawkish policy at Jackson Hole next week.

“The Fed won't be receptive to the easing of financial conditions that we've seen in the past two months,” John Luke Tyner, Portfolio Manager at Aptus Capital Advisors told in an interview on Thursday. “The Fed will keep the pedal to the metal on rate hikes, though the number of 75 basis point hikes that they can do consecutively is probably coming to an end,” Tyner added.

On the earnings front, Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO ) rolled out guidance that topped estimates after reporting quarterly results that beat estimates on both the top and bottom lines, sending its shares almost 6% higher.

Kohl's (NYSE: KSS ) fell more than 7% after it cut its annual guidance as inflation continues to put the squeeze on consumers. The retailer now expects net sales to decline by 5% to 6%, down from a prior forecast for flat to up 1%.

In meme-stock related news, Bed Bath & Beyond Inc (NASDAQ: BBBY ), which has racked up a more than 300% gain for the month, slumped nearly 20% after activist investor Ryan Cohen looks set to sell his stake in the company.

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