Dow closes up more than 100 points as earnings season begins, stocks book best week of gains in 2 months
By Christine Idzelis and Joseph Adinolfi
Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq post best week since Nov. 11
U.S. stocks finished higher Friday, as investors weighed a flurry of bank earnings results for the fourth quarter and fresh data on consumer sentiment and inflation expectations.
All three major benchmarks also booked their best weekly percentage gains since Nov. 11, according to Dow Jones Market Data.
How stock indexes traded
For the week, the Dow rose 2%, the S&P 500 advanced 2.7% and the Nasdaq gained 4.8% gain.
Read: Goldman Sachs sees these 'prospective' total returns across assets in 2023
What drove markets
Major stock indexes posted their best week of gains in two months on Friday after companies began reporting their fourth-quarter results, with big banks kicking off the earnings season.
No big surprises have come from the banks' earnings results so far, with Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. indicating a potentially mild recession this year, according to Anthony Saglimbene, chief market strategist at Ameriprise Financial.
"I think the base case for most of the market right now is that we're going to see a mild recession," Saglimbene said in a phone interview Friday. "I don't think anything that was said across bank earnings today surprised investors."
Typically, the release of megabank earnings marks the unofficial start of the U.S. earnings reporting season, and market analysts will be watching closely this quarter for indications of how America's largest companies are bracing for an expected economic downturn driven by higher interest rates.
JPMorgan (JPM), Bank of America (BAC), Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) and
Read: JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Citi beat earnings expectations, but worries about 'headwinds' remain
Earnings will continue to be a "big focus" for markets this month, according to Saglimbene. "Analysts took down estimates pretty aggressively in the fourth quarter," he said. "So the bar is pretty low for companies. We'll see if they can hurdle past that."
In U.S. economic data released Friday, the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index climbed in January to its highest level in nine months, as expectations for the rate of inflation one year out moderated.
"Signs that inflation has peaked and is moderating slowly kind of eases some of the anxiety that we're going to see runaway inflation this year," said Saglimbene.
A reading from the consumer-price index on Thursday showed U.S. inflation fell in December. Many investors are expecting that the Federal Reserve will slow its pace of interest rate hikes this year as the cost of living has cooled.
Read: Inflation slows again and clears path for slower Fed rate hikes
Stocks on Thursday pushed higher after St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard said the probability of a soft landing for the economy has increased due to "encouraging" inflation data.
Read: Why the stock market isn't impressed with the first monthly decline in consumer prices in more than 2 years
Steve Sosnick, chief strategist at Interactive Brokers, said by phone Friday that he still favors consumer-staples stocks and companies with "more steady streams than more cyclical streams" of income. "If you're looking at an economy that's likely to slow down, it's really hard for me to think that somehow 'the cyclicals' will be immune from the economic cycle," he said.
Read: Why earnings season could be a 'market-moving event'
Companies in focus
--Barbara Kollmeyer contributed to this article.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 14, 2023 08:32 ET (13:32 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2023 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.