Shares rose Wednesday as investors watched the end of an eventful month and first quarter of the year marked by resilience in the face of a banking crisis and looming questions about the global economy.
At the closing bell, the S&P 500 (^GSPC) was up 1.1%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) was up 1% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) led gains, up 1.8% .
With the first quarter ending on Friday, the Nasdaq sits on gains north of 13%, the S&P 500 is up more than 4.5% year-to-date and the Dow lags, falling 1.3% in 2023.
This relative performance is a reversal from what was seen last year when the Nasdaq fell nearly 30%, the S&P 500 lost more than 18% and the Dow fell a more modest 9%.
Crude oil price was volatile on Wednesday, trading below USD 73 after changing hands north of USD 74 earlier in morning trading. The return over 10 years was almost 3.55%.
Bitcoin (BTC-USD) was also notably higher, rising more than 5% to trade north of $28,000.
So far this year, bitcoin has gained more than 70%.
Wednesday’s rise in key averages came amid a somewhat slower calendar for corporate and economic news, with last night’s gains from Micron Technology (MU) and Lululemon (LULU) being the main highlights of the trading session.
Micron shares rose more than 7% on Wednesday after the chip giant suggested last night that its battered chip business could take a turn, with CEO Sanjay Mehrotra telling investors, “We are close to moving to sequential revenue growth in our quarterly results.”
Micron on Tuesday reported earnings for its fiscal second quarter that were about 10% lower than the prior quarter and more than 50% lower than the same period last year.
Mehrotra also pointed to the potential positive effects recent investor enthusiasm around AI advancements could have on the industry, telling investors: “Recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) represent an exciting prelude to the transformational opportunities of large language models, or LLMs, such as ChatGPT, which require significant amounts of memory and storage to operate.We are still in the very early stages of widespread adoption of these AI technologies and potential exponential growth in their commercial use cases.”
Shares of Lululemon rose more than 12% on Wednesday after reporting top and bottom-line results that beat estimates, with sales up 30% in the fourth quarter while comparable store sales rose 27%.
On the economic side, data on current home sales from the National Association of Realtors showed that homes under contract rose for a third straight month in February.
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