Wall Street spent most of Friday applying some vibrant lipstick to what was otherwise a pig of a week for investors.
A broad market rally – one that saw each of the S&P 500’s 11 sectors finish higher – wasn’t a response to any new positive catalysts. Quarterly reports were light today, with most investors flipping the earnings calendar to next week’s retail-heavy slate.
And Friday’s most noteworthy datapoint was the University of Michigan’s latest consumer sentiment index reading, which dropped from 65.2 in April to 59.1 in May – a 10-year nadir that was well lower than the 64.1 reading expected.
Sometimes the market just enjoys a relief rally.
“Following a week of heavy selling, but with inflationary pressures easing just at the margin, and the Fed still seemingly wedded to 50-basis-point hikes for each of the next two FOMC meetings, the market was poised for the kind of strong rally endemic to bear market rallies,” says Quincy Krosby, chief equity strategist for LPL Financial.
He adds that given the Federal Reserve is only at the beginning of its rate-hike cycle and would like to see demand pull back further, “this rally will most likely weaken.”
Of course, even if this is just a pause before more market declines, investors don’t necessarily have to time the bottom to buy in at a decent valuation.
“This is still an attractive entry point, as we do not believe this is 1999/2000,” says Nancy Tengler, CEO and CIO of asset management firm Laffer Tengler Investments.
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The buying was strongest in consumer discretionary stocks (+3.9%) such as Amazon.com (AMZN, +5.7%) and Tesla (TSLA, +5.7%), along with technology plays (+3.3%) including Nvidia (NVDA, +9.5%) and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD, +9.3%).
Energy (+3.4%) was also bid higher amid a big pop in oil; U.S. crude futures finished 4.1% higher to $110.49 per barrel, helping to spark new highs in gasoline futures prices.
Notably absent from the rally was Twitter (TWTR, -9.7%), which sank after Elon Musk tweeted that the deal was “temporarily on hold.”
All the major indexes put up spectacular gains Friday, though for the week, it was still losses all around: The Nasdaq Composite (+3.8% to 11,805) still finished off 2.8% for the week, the S&P 500 (+2.4% to 4,023) was down 2.4% across the five days, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+1.5% to 32,196) closed the week 2.1% in …….