Stocks rise to records to recover losses as investors shake off growth concerns

Pevita Lena

Stocks gained on Friday to set new all-time highs, shaking off declines from a day earlier as concerns over the pace of the economic recovery flared. 

The S&P 500 added more than 1% led by the financials, materials and energy sectors that had been some of Thursday’s biggest laggards. The Dow and Nasdaq also set fresh record closing highs by the end of the session, taking out previous highs from earlier this week. U.S. Treasury yields also gained to reverse course from Thursday, and the 10-year yield added more than 5 basis points to trade back above 1.3%.  

U.S. equity investors have been appraising the likelihood that a surge in the Delta variant of the coronavirus could weigh more heavily on global growth than previously anticipated. In Japan, the Tokyo Olympics are now set to be held without fans later this month due to a jump in COVID cases in the country. And in China, an executive body signaled the country’s central bank might cut its reserve requirement ratio for the first time since mid-2020, in an easing monetary policy move that would suggest a lack of confidence in the country’s economic recovery.

These global concerns weighed on risk assets in the U.S. this week. Cyclical stocks that would benefit most directly from a strong economic recovery — including airlines, cruise lines, leisure firms and small-cap stocks — largely underperformed on Thursday, underscoring investors’ jitters over whether the rebound might be derailed. 

“The equity markets haven’t priced the Delta variant as a big risk. And I think one of the reasons why is, if you look at the United States, for example, where vaccination rates are much better than in other countries, I don’t think the market is pricing in that we will see some type of repeat of what we had originally,” Eddie Ghabour, managing partner of Key Advisors Group, told Yahoo Finance. “I could see a scenario where there’s a headline or a warning in the media where the Delta virus is really starting to hit hard and causing a sell-off.” 

Others also pointed to the Delta variant as a factor contributing to Thursday’s stock market drop, while highlighting the confluence of other uncertainties still facing investors as well. 

“I think it all comes back into growth for the economy: If the Delta variant continues to gain in the severity that it is right now, then are businesses going to close again? What does that mean for consumer spending on services?” Victoria Fernandez, Crossmark Global Investments’ chief market strategist, told Yahoo Finance. 

“You have a Federal Reserve where you have to wonder, if they start to pull liquidity out of the market, what does that mean for the consumer and for growth there?” Fernandez added. “And then I think the third leg of this stool is the infrastructure deal. You had anticipation of two large deals that were going to be coming, which again would provide some stimulus and growth, but it looks like it’s not going to be as easy of a road as many people anticipated.” 

4:00 p.m. ET: Stocks end at records to rebound from Thursday’s slide

Here’s where markets ended the session on Friday: 

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +48.73 points (+1.13%) to 4,369.55

  • Dow (^DJI): +448.23 (+1.3%) to 34,870.16

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +142.13 (+0.98%) to 14,701.92

2:35 p.m. ET: S&P 500 sets new all-time high, Dow adds 400+ points 

The three major indexes shook off Thursday’s declines, with the S&P 500 setting a new high after gaining more than 1% intraday. The Dow added more than 400 points, or 1.3%, led by the big banks Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase. 

Cyclical stocks outperformed after lagging a day earlier, with financials and materials stocks gaining strongly. The small-cap Russell 2000 added 2%. 

The risk rally also extended to crude oil, with West Texas intermediate crude oil futures settling higher by 2.2% to $74.56 per barrel. 

11:13 a.m. ET: Apple shares rally to record intraday high 

Tech heavyweight Apple (AAPL) rose as much as 1.5% to a record intraday high, with the iPhone-maker setting its first all-time level since January. The stock had set a record closing high on Wednesday.

The move higher came amid a mixed session for peer Big Tech stocks. Facebook, Alphabet and Netflix were each also moving to the upside, while Amazon shares dipped. 

9:30 a.m. ET: Stocks open higher, led by Dow

Here’s where markets were trading shortly after the opening bell:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +20.72 points (+0.48%) to 4,341.54

  • Dow (^DJI): +212.88 (+0.62%) to 34,634.81

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +30.9 (+0.21%) to 14,590.83

  • Crude (CL=F): +$1.16 (+1.59%) to $74.10 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): +$2.60 (+0.14%) to $1,802.80 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +5.6 bps to yield 1.344%

8:39 a.m. ET: President Biden to sign executive order cracking down on anti-competitive practices in corporations in win for workers

President Joe Biden is expected to sign a major new executive order on Friday targeting anti-competitive practices in multiple industries. The move includes a number of provisions that would help workers especially. 

In the order, Biden would ask the Federal Trade Commission to limit or eliminate non-compete agreements, which would likely help boost wages for some workers. It would also request that the FTC ban “unnecessary” occupational licensing requirements, which have made job-switching between certain roles and geographies more difficult for workers. And Biden will also ask that the FTC and Department of Justice more stringently enforce restrictions from employers sharing wage and benefits information with one another, given the practice can also lead to lower wages for workers.

7:22 a.m. ET Friday: Stock futures rise to recover losses

Here’s where markets were trading Friday morning: 

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 4,329.5, +16.5 points (+0.38%)

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 34,498.00, +204 points (+0.59%)

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 14,711.00, -1.25 points (-0.01%)

  • Crude (CL=F): +$0.91 (+1.25%) to $73.85 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): +$1.00 (+0.06%) to $1,801.20 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +5.5 bps to yield 1.343%

6:18 p.m. ET Thursday: Stock futures extend declines

Here’s where markets were trading Thursday evening: 

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 4,309.5, -3.5 points (-0.08%)

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 34,277.00, -17 points (-0.05%)

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 14,705.5, -6.75 points (-0.05%)

U.S. flags fly from the facade of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, June 7, 2021. Stocks are opening mostly higher on Wall Street as gains for Big Tech companies offset weakness in banks and other parts of the market. The S&P 500 edged up 0.1% in the early going Wednesday, June 9. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck

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