Wall St extends recovery at end of volatile week

Wall St extends recovery at end of volatile week
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NEW YORK (May 14): US stocks rose on Friday with broad-based gains, as investors looked at economic recovery prospects after worries about a prolonged period of inflation sparked a volatile week of trading.

Futures pared some gains after data showed US retail sales unexpectedly stalled in April, as a boost from stimulus checks faded, but an acceleration is likely in the coming months amid record savings and a reopening economy.

"The disappointing retail sales numbers shouldn't really come as a huge surprise," said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E*TRADE Financial.

"It probably supports the point of view that the dip we experienced this week is a buying opportunity as all sectors march toward full recovery."

Wall Street's major indexes are set for their steepest weekly drop since February after stronger-than-expected inflation data, signs of labor shortage and higher commodity prices this week raised bets the Federal Reserve would have to pare back its crisis level support.

The three main indexes snapped a three-day losing streak on Thursday after better-than-expected weekly jobless claims data.

In signs that life was returning to normal, revised guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks outdoors and can avoid wearing them indoors in most places.

All 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with energy leading gains as oil prices gained ground.

The CBOE volatility index, a measure of investors' anxiety, slipped to 19.55 after spiking to a more than two-month high earlier this week.

"Market is in a waiting game ... we expect a significantly higher level of volatility because of this tug of war between data and data being so good that it will drive inflation higher," said Phil Blancato, chief executive officer of Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management in New York.

At 11:23am ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 281.54 points, or 0.83%, at 34,302.99, the S&P 500 was up 50.94 points, or 1.24%, at 4,163.44. The Nasdaq Composite was up 241.30 points, or 1.84%, at 13,366.29.

The Philadelphia SE semiconductor index jumped 2.2% after sources said a group of US senators were close to unveiling a US$52-billion proposal on Friday that would significantly boost US semiconductor chip production and research over five years.

Chip stocks helped the technology sector provide the biggest boost to the S&P 500.

Mega-cap growth stocks, which were beaten down this week on concerns over their lofty valuations, led gains in early trading with Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Microsoft Corp gaining about 1% each and Tesla Inc adding 2.3%.

Disappointing subscriber additions for Walt Disney Co's namesake streaming service overshadowed better-than-expected overall profits, driving down shares of the entertainment company by 3.4%.

Airbnb Inc rose 2.4% after beating analysts' expectations for first-quarter gross bookings and revenue.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 4.70-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 4.28-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 16 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 55 new highs and 39 new lows.