Stocks rose on Wednesday despite a continued surge in oil prices surged amid the intensifying conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 616 points, or 1.9%. The S&P 500 added 1.8%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 1.5%.
It was a broad rally, with all 30 stocks in the Dow moving higher. Shares of Caterpillar rose more than 4%, while JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs each rose 2%.
The moves came as oil prices trekked upward, building on a massive move in the previous session. Futures for West Texas Intermediate traded as high as $112.51 per barrel on Wednesday morning before trimming gains to about $106.40.
“Wall Street wants to take a break from the defensive playbook and hold off overloading on utilities, healthcare and consumer staples stocks. With oil prices and Treasury yields rallying so much today, it is no surprise energy and financials are leading the open higher,” Oanda senior market analyst Edward Moya said in a note to clients.
Corporate news helped push the market higher. Shares of Ford popped 4.6% after the automaker announced it would split its electric vehicle and legacy production businesses into two separate units. Salesforce rose 1.7% after the software giant beat estimates on the top and bottom lines for its fourth quarter.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell will testify before Congress on Wednesday to give his semiannual monetary policy update. The central bank chief said that rate hikes are likely to begin this month despite the “highly uncertain” impact of the war in Ukraine, and that the Fed would make progress on but not finalize a plan to reduce its balance sheet.
“The bottom line is we will proceed, but we will proceed carefully, as we learn more about the implications of the Ukraine war on the economy,” Powell said.
Government bond yields also rebounded Wednesday. The benchmark 10-year note most recently yielded close to 1.8% after falling below 1.7% the day before. The reversal appeared to help bank stocks, with Wells Fargo rising 2.4%.
The move in oil appeared to boost energy stocks, with Exxon and Chevron each rising about 2% in early trading.
However, the rising energy costs have also increased concerns about inflation and a potentially slowing economic recovery. The index moves on Wednesday morning trimmed losses from the previous session, which also saw a big spike in oil.
“Yesterday’s price action, which saw Fed tightening expectations get pushed out, global yields plunge, the U.S. dollar & gold strengthen, and equity markets (ex-Energy) selloff sharply, strongly suggests that investors are increasingly pricing in a potential sharp slowdown,” Wolfe Research’s Chris Senyek said in a note to clients.
Investors remained on edge as reports Wednesday indicated that Russian forces penetrated Kherson and have surrounded Mariupol, two key cities in the southern part of the country.
Earnings boosted several other stocks. Nordstrom spiked by more than 30% on strong earnings while SoFi surged around 10%.
On the downside, First Solar shares tumbled more than 15% after the company misses estimates on revenue and issued disappointing guidance. Citi shed 3.5% after releasing updated financial goals.
Investors are also looking toward a key employment report on Friday. Private companies in the U.S. added 475,000 jobs in February, ADP said Wednesday. Economists polled by Dow Jones were expecting 400,000. The firm also revised its January numbers upward.
In trading Tuesday, the Dow fell 597 points, or 1.76%. The S&P 500 lost 1.55% and the Nasdaq Composite slid 1.59%.
Earnings season continues with several tech companies set to report on Wednesday. Okta, Pure Storage and C3 AI will report after the market closes. ChargePoint is also scheduled to report after the bell.
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