Tech stocks lead market higher on Meta-fueled rally

  • Stock Market News
Tech stocks lead market higher on Meta-fueled rally
Credit: © Reuters.

By Liz Moyer -- U.S. stocks were mostly rising on Thursday amid a tech rally led by Meta Platforms.

At 9:49 ET (14:49 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 194 points or 0.5%, while the S&P 500 was up 0.9% and the Nasdaq was up 2.4%.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq got a jolt from Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ: META ) shares, which surged more than 18% after it revealed tighter cost controls and a $40 billion share buyback.

Other tech giants are slated to report results today after the closing bell, including Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ), Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL ) and (NASDAQ: AMZN ).

Stocks were also getting a boost from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s seemingly dovish message about guiding the economy, with more rate increases on tap after raising rates by a quarter of a percentage point on Wednesday .

Powell acknowledged that inflation was starting to ease but said the Fed’s work is not yet done. Instead, he argued that it was riskier to do too little to battle inflation than the risk of over-tightening. 

The still-tight labor market is still in focus, with the jobs report for January due out on Friday. This morning, data on new jobless claims for last week showed claims drop to a nine-month low of 183,000 despite widespread layoffs announced in recent days. The number was lower than the 200,000 expected.

Investors latched onto Powell’s comments that the Fed’s actions were starting to gain traction while paying less notice to his talk about further rate increases, pushing stocks higher on Wednesday. While most futures traders are betting on another quarter-point hike in March, about 17% of traders are betting on a pause in rate hikes, according to the CME’s FedWatch tool.

Shares of Shell PLC ADR (NYSE: SHEL ) rose 1% after the oil major reported record profit for 2022. Merck & Company Inc (NYSE: MRK ) shares fell 3.3% after the pharmaceutical maker gave guidance for 2023 that was below expectations.

Oil fell. Crude Oil WTI Futures were down 0.6% to $75.92 a barrel, while Brent Oil Futures were down 0.7% to $82.22 a barrel and Gold Futures rose 0.4% to $1,949.

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