S&P 500 drifts higher as tech continues advance ahead of inflation data

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By Yasin Ebrahim

Investing.com — The S&P 500 climbed Thursday, as technology stocks continued to add to recent gains just a day ahead of fresh inflation data that will provide further clues on whether the Federal Reserve rate-hike regime will come to a sooner rather than later end.

The rose 0.4%, the added 0.3%, or 95 points, and the gained 0.6%.

Tech stocks were among the biggest gainers on the day as Treasury yields steadied after their recent melt-up.

“The decline in bond yields has supported growth stocks year to date,” Goldman Sachs said, recommending that investors investors “own high-margin growth stocks” as low-margin growth stock valuations are more sensitive to the risk of a pick-up in real yields should the economy avoid a recession.

Apple Inc (NASDAQ:), Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:) led the move higher for big tech, but Alphabet (NASDAQ:) was the exception, down about 0.5%.

Alibaba (NYSE:), meanwhile, added to its gains from a day earlier, rising more than 3% after the Chinese tech giant said it would sell non-core assets and consider ceding control of some businesses. Alibaba earlier this week announced that it would split its group into six businesses as part of the major restructuring.

Financials were one of the few sectors in the green, pressured by weakness in regional banks and a 5% plunge in Charles Schwab (NYSE:) as Morgan Stanley downgraded the brokerage firm to Equal-weight from Overweight.

Metropolitan Bank (NYSE:) slumped more than 30% as bearish bets on the bank ramp up as speculators probe for weakness in the New York-based bank given its relations with the digital asset and crypto industry.

President Joe Biden on Thursday called on regulators to step up oversight on banks, urging them to reinstate rules that were rolled back by the Trump administration following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.

RH (NYSE:), meanwhile, fell more than 3% after the furniture chain reported gloomy guidance and quarterly that fell short of analysts’ estimates, warning of further impact from the downturn in the housing market.

RH issued a “disappointing outlook for 2023 on the top- and bottom-lines as it faces strong macro and customer transition headwinds,” Wedbush said after cutting its price target on the stock to $235 from $245 a share.

On the economic front, increased 7,000 to 198,000 in the week ended Mar. 25, which was ahead of the forecast for a 5,000 increase, and some economists are now calling for a steep pick-up in claims in the months ahead.

“The level of claims remains extremely low, but the cycle bottom probably is now in the past, and looking ahead, the lagged impact of the surge in layoff announcements ought to drive claims substantially higher during the second quarter,” Pantheon Macroeconomics said in a note.

The jobs data came just a day ahead of fresh data, the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, that is expected to show cooling price pressures, and could support calls for the fed to end its tightening cycle.

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