Stocks Rally as Traders Eye Peak Rates After Data: Markets Wrap

US equities extended the week’s rally after a key measure of US inflation cooled last month by more than expected, suggesting the Federal Reserve may be close to ending its rate-hiking campaign.

(Bloomberg) — US equities extended the week’s rally after a key measure of US inflation cooled last month by more than expected, suggesting the Federal Reserve may be close to ending its rate-hiking campaign.

Excluding food and energy, the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge — the personal consumption expenditures price index — rose 0.3% in February, slightly below the median estimate of 0.4% in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Likewise, the PCE price index was up 5% from a year earlier, a deceleration from January but far higher than the Fed’s 2% goal.

The S&P 500 rose 0.9%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 gained 1.2%, with the underlying index set for its strongest quarter since 2020. 

“Overall, it was a round of data consistent with the peak inflation narrative but also with the Fed’s insistence that there remains work to be done to reestablish price stability,” Ian Lyngen of BMO Capital Markets wrote in a note.

If equities “end the week in the green, that’s a big deal considering how almost disastrous the rest of the month was,” said Craig Erlam, a senior market analyst at Oanda. “Confidence is easily shattered and difficult to restore and a positive end to the week would send a strong signal that investors are feeling reassured by the lack of turmoil recently.”

Treasury yields drifted lower Friday at the end of a quarter of wild swings. Investors have struggled to adjust for banking collapses and the shifting outlook for interest rates amid high inflation and threats to economic growth. The two-year yield was around 4.08% Friday while the 10-year maturity was about 3.50%. The dollar strengthened against major peers.

Traders remain on guard for any choppiness amid quarter-end rebalancing from pension funds and options hedging activity. A gauge of global shares is headed for a second-straight quarterly gain as technology shares have led gains in the US. However, analysts caution only a small percentage of stocks actually account for the US stock rally. 

“Extremely narrow rallies are not healthy ones at all, so it is going to be essential for the bulls to see more groups participate in the rally going forward,” Matt Maley, chief market strategist at Miller Tabak + Co., wrote.” If they don’t, it will only be a matter of time before a correction in the big cap tech names turns this nice rally into an ugly decline.”

In Europe, equities rallied as euro-area inflation plunged by the most on record. However, a new high for underlying price gains highlighted the tricky task facing the European Central Bank.

Elsewhere, oil headed for a weekly surge of more than 7% amid ongoing disruption to Iraqi exports. Gold edged lower. Bitcoin was set to end its best quarter since March 2021 with a gain of about 70%. And Digital World Acquisition Corp., the blank-check firm taking Donald Trump’s media company public, rallied after he became the first former president to be indicted.

Some of the main moves in markets:


  • The S&P 500 rose 0.9% as of 2:04 p.m. New York time
  • The Nasdaq 100 rose 1.2%
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.8%
  • The MSCI World index rose 0.7%


  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.2%
  • The euro fell 0.5% to $1.0852
  • The British pound fell 0.4% to $1.2331
  • The Japanese yen fell 0.2% to 132.95 per dollar


  • Bitcoin rose 0.7% to $28,339.79
  • Ether rose 1.7% to $1,825.07


  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries declined four basis points to 3.51%
  • Germany’s 10-year yield declined eight basis points to 2.29%
  • Britain’s 10-year yield declined three basis points to 3.49%


  • West Texas Intermediate crude rose 1.4% to $75.42 a barrel
  • Gold futures fell 0.6% to $1,986.20 an ounce

This story was produced with the assistance of Bloomberg Automation.

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