U.S. stocks traded higher on Thursday, trying to snap a two-day losing streak, as interest rates slipped from multiyear highs seen in the previous session.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 350 points, with United Technologies as the best-performing stock in the index. The S&P 500 gained 1.1 percent, with real estate and energy rising more than 1.5 percent. The Nasdaq composite advanced 0.8 percent.
“On balance, equities are in a ‘muddle-along’ zone,” said Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. “The macro economic environment still looks favorable,” but “we need another round of economic releases to get a better sense of how much inflation is in the marketplace.”
The major averages gave up sharp gains on Wednesday after a summary from the Federal Reserve’s January meeting sent the benchmark 10-year U.S. note yield to its highest level in four years. The Dow closed 166 points lower, having risen as much as 303 points. On Thursday, the yield traded off their four-year high at 2.913 percent.
“The minutes convey a clear sense that inflation is more on their minds than the FOMC statement indicated,” Steve Blitz, chief U.S. economist at TS Lombard, said in a note. “The minutes gave readers conviction that only a sea change will stay the Fed from four 25bp rate rises in 2018. One might think this trajectory puts the Fed behind economic activity, but market odds-setters still very much lag the Fed, pricing in only about a 25% chance of four hikes this year.”
Investors will get more news out of the Fed on Thursday, as Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic and Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan are all due to deliver remarks. New York Fed President William Dudley delivered prepared remarks, but did not address monetary policy.
Earlier this month, stocks suffered their first 10 percent pullback since early 2016. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all closed in correction territory on Feb. 8. The move lower was sparked, in part, by fears of rising inflation and higher interest rates.
“If interest rates move higher slowly, … then I think the market will be calm,” said Tim Courtney, chief investment officer at Exencial Wealth Advisors. “But if they go up quickly, we could see another wild ride” in the market.
But the major averages were quick to recover some of those losses. As of Wednesday’s close, the Nasdaq had regained about 62 percent of the losses suffered, while the S&P 500 and Dow had jumped about 40 percent and 35 percent.
But Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab, said he thinks the market may have recovered a little too fast from its lows. “When you recover that fast, that usually opens the door for another downturn,” he said.
In corporate news, Chesapeake Energy shares jumped more than 25 percent after the company reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings. The stock was also the best performer in the S&P 500.
Meanwhile, Roku’s stock shed 14 percent after the streaming company issued weaker-than-expected revenue guidance for the current quarter.