US Stocks: Wall Street edges higher in choppy trade as recession fears linger

Despite Friday’s gains, all the three major indexes were on track for their third straight weekly losses, with benchmark S&P 500 index on pace for its worst showing since January.

Despite Friday's gains, all the three major indexes were on track for their third straight weekly losses, with benchmark S&P 500 index on pace for its worst showing since January.
Trading is expected to remain volatile due to the expiration of monthly and quarterly options contracts ahead of the Juneteenth market holiday on Monday. (AP/File image)

Wall Street’s main indexes edged higher on Friday after a brutal selloff due to recession fears triggered by a series of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve and other major central banks.

Stubbornly high inflation has spooked investors this year as they adapt to the end of the era of cheap money, bringing on worries about price pressures hurting corporate profits and economic growth.

Despite Friday’s gains, all the three major indexes were on track for their third straight weekly losses, with benchmark S&P 500 index on pace for its worst showing since January.

The Fed on Wednesday raised its key rate by 75 basis points, the biggest hike in nearly three decades, while the Bank of England and the Swiss National Bank also raised borrowing costs.

“The markets will not stabilize until there is a sense that moves by the Fed and other central banks are going to be successful in not only tamping down inflation, but trying to prevent a global recession,” said Kenny Polcari, managing partner at Kace Capital Advisors.

“I don’t think it’s another 2007 event. But based on all the stimulus that every central bank around the world has provided and now that they’re starting to take the candy away from the candy jar, investors are going to react violently.”

Fed Chair Jerome Powell reiterated the central bank’s focus on bringing back inflation to its 2% target while speaking at a conference on the “International Roles of the U.S. Dollar.”

At 10:08 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 52.58 points, or 0.18%, at 29,979.65, the S&P 500 was up 19.86 points, or 0.54%, at 3,686.63, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 129.84 points, or 1.22%, at 10,775.94.

Trading is expected to remain volatile due to the expiration of monthly and quarterly options contracts ahead of the Juneteenth market holiday on Monday.

Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors gained. The S&P energy sector fell almost 2% and were on course to top weekly losses, as crude prices took a hit from global slowdown fears. Still, the sector has rallied 37% this year on soaring oil prices.

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Revlon Inc surged 80.5% after a news report stated that Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries is considering buying out the cosmetics company in the United States, days after the cosmetics giant filed for bankruptcy.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.63-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 3.85-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded one new 52-week highs and 34 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded two new highs and 92 new lows.

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