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Nasdaq leads Wall St higher as interest rate worries ease


Traders work on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., January 5, 2023. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

The tech-heavy Nasdaq led gains among the main Wall Street indexes on Monday, boosted by shares of Amazon and Tesla, while signs of a cooling labor market supported bets of a slower pace of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. Inc (AMZN.O) rose 3.4% after Jefferies said it saw cost pressures easing for the e-commerce giant in the second half of the year.

Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) climbed 7.5% after the electric-vehicle maker indicated longer waiting times for some versions of the Model Y in China, signaling the recent price cuts could be stoking demand.

Other rate-sensitive growth stocks like Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) gained about 1% each as U.S. Treasury yields declined.

The gains pushed technology (.SPLRCT) to the top of the major S&P 500 sector indexes list. The S&P 500 growth index (.IGX) was up 3.6%, outperforming a 0.7% rise in its value peers (.IVX).

The benchmark S&P 500 (.SPX) and the Nasdaq (.IXIC) closed the week higher on Friday after a moderation in wage increases and a decline in U.S. services activity in December buoyed hopes of a less hawkish stance from the Fed as well as a soft landing for the U.S. economy.

“The number of jobs created is working its way down slowly and wages are starting to calm down. Both of those are important for inflation coming under control, without necessarily careening the U.S economy to a recession,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley Financial.

The highly awaited U.S. Labor Department’s inflation report on Thursday is expected to show some moderation in year-on-year consumer prices in December.

Money market bets show 75% odds of a 25-basis point hike in the Fed’s February policy meeting, with the terminal rate expected just below 5% by June.

Other economic data such as weekly jobless claims and the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment report will also be in focus this week, as big U.S. banks kick off the quarterly earnings season on Friday.

A slew of Fed officials including Chair Jerome Powell are due to speak this week, with investors parsing their commentary for more clues on the rate-hike trajectory.

U.S.-listed shares of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd rose 2.7% on news that Ant Group’s founder Jack Ma will give up control of the Chinese fintech giant in an overhaul.

At 9:58 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) was up 132.40 points, or 0.39%, at 33,763.01, the S&P 500 (.SPX) was up 33.17 points, or 0.85%, at 3,928.25, and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) was up 160.39 points, or 1.52%, at 10,729.69.

Macy’s Inc (M.N) and Lululemon Athletica Inc (LULU.O) dropped 8.7% and 10.3%, respectively, following dour holiday-quarter forecasts from both the retailers.

Other retailers such as Kohl’s Corp (KSS.N) and Nordstrom Inc (JWN.N) also took a hit, down 4.3% and 2.9%, respectively.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 3.68-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 2.15-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 10 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 95 new highs and 14 new lows.