S&P 500 ends higher as investors bet on lower rates

By Caroline Valetkevitch and Noel Randewich

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The S&P 500 closed higher on Thursday on optimism that borrowing rates will decrease next year following a dovish pivot by the Federal Reserve.

Trading was mixed for much of the session, with Apple giving up gains after hitting an intraday record high.

Tesla shares surged, with over $37 billion worth changing hands.

Sectors that have underperformed this year also rose, including energy and real estate.

According to preliminary data, the S&P 500 gained 12.37 points, or 0.26%, to end at 4,719.46 points, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 27.60 points, or 0.17%, to 14,759.54. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 162.53 points, or 0.44%, to 37,252.77.

The Fed left interest rates unchanged on Wednesday, as expected, with Chair Jerome Powell saying the historic tightening of monetary policy was likely over, as inflation falls faster than expected, and discussions on cuts in borrowing costs were coming “into view.”

Investors were closely watching 10-year Treasury yields, which broke below 4% for the first time since early August in the wake of the Fed statement. They were last down at 3.94%.

“The market by any measure and any metric is overbought and has been overbought, and a consolidation or a pause has been expected, especially after yesterday’s surge,” said Quincy Krosby, chief global strategist at LPL Financial in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“While the market celebrates lower rates, it can question why yields are below 4%” as investors weigh the economic outlook, she added.

Adobe fell after the Photoshop maker forecast annual and quarterly revenue below estimates.

U.S. retail sales unexpectedly rose in November as the holiday shopping season got off to a brisk start, further alleviating fears of a recession, the Commerce Department reported on Thursday.

(Additional reporting by Shristi Achar A and Johann M Cherian in Bengaluru; Editing by Pooja Desai and Richard Chang)