The major averages ticked higher in afternoon trading Friday to end the day on an upbeat note as investors assessed tougher language from Federal Reserve speakers and pored over the latest earnings reports.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 199.37 points, or 0.59%, to 33,745.69, while the S&P 500 climbed 0.48% to 3,965.34. The Nasdaq Composite finished just 0.01% above the flat line at 11,146.06.
All of the major averages posted losses for the week. The Dow ended 0.01% lower. The S&P 500 lost 0.69% for the week, while the Nasdaq ended 1.57% lower. All three indexes are positive for the month, however.
The market was divided for much of the day, with the S&P 500 trading mostly flat as investors started to reset expectations after a couple of rallies over the past week, beginning with the October CPI print. Stephanie Lang, chief investment officer at Homrich Berg, said this week is characterized by a “back-to-reality viewpoint.”
“Following the big rally coming off the better-than-expected CPI print, the market’s digesting the current data, which is bringing things back to reality,” she said. “The rally that followed the CPI print we don’t feel was justified by fundamentals… The market’s also pricing in a soft landing here, which we don’t think is likely to occur. So when you hear the Fed officials coming out and reiterating their stance, you’re starting to see the market readjust to that.”
On Friday, Boston Federal Reserve President Susan Collins expressed confidence that policymakers can tame inflation without doing too much damage to employment.
St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said Thursday that “the policy rate is not yet in a zone that may be considered sufficiently restrictive.” He suggested that the appropriate zone for the federal funds rate could be in the 5% to 7% range, which is higher than what the market is pricing.
“We continue to think investors should place much more emphasis on the actual data and not focus too much on Fed rhetoric (the former will show where inflation is headed while the latter is fixated on where it was),” said Adam Crisafulli, founder of Vital Knowledge. “That said, investors are tired of battling the Fed’s daily tape bombs and the fear is it may take 2-3 more CPIs for officials to stop admonishing the market every time it tries to rally.”