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Tech Stocks Leading Rally On Wall Street On Upbeat Earnings

After ending the previous session off their worst levels but still mostly lower, stocks have shown a strong move to the upside during trading on Friday. Technology stocks have helped lead the advance, resulting in a surge by the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

Currently, the Nasdaq is hovering near its best levels of the day, up 299.78 points or 1.9 percent at 15,911.54. The S&P 500 is also up 50.65 points or 1.0 percent at 5,099.07, while the narrower Dow is posting more modest gain, up 125.98 points or 0.3 percent at 38,211.78.

The rally on Wall Street comes amid a positive reaction to some of the latest earnings news from big-name tech companies.

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Shares of Alphabet (GOOGL) have surge by 9.9 percent after the Google parent reported better than expected first quarter results and authorized its first-ever dividend as well as a $70 billion stock buyback.

Software giant Microsoft (MSFT) has also jumped by 2.3 percent after reporting fiscal third quarter results that exceeded expectations.

On the other hand, a steep drop by shares of Intel (INTC) is limiting the upside for the Dow, with the semiconductor giant plunging by 11.3 percent after reporting first quarter earnings that beat estimates but providing disappointing guidance.

Traders have also seemingly reacted positively to closely watched readings on inflation released by the Commerce Department showing consumer prices in the U.S. increased in line with economist estimates in the month of March.

The Commerce Department said its consumer price index rose by 0.3 percent in March, matching the increase seen in February as well as economist estimates.

Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices also climbed by 0.3 percent for the second straight month, in line with expectations.

Meanwhile, the report said the annual rate of consumer price growth accelerated to 2.7 percent in March from 2.5 percent in February. Economists had expected the pace of growth to tick up to 2.6 percent.

The annual rate of growth by core consumer prices in March came in unchanged from February at 2.8 percent, while economists had expected the pace of growth to slow to 2.6 percent.

The readings on inflation, which are said to be preferred by the Federal Reserve, were included in the Commerce Department’s report on personal income and spending in the month of March.

“Given the elevated levels of inflation – and this is the new normal for 2024 – the market is going to need to get over hopes for Fed rate cuts,” said Chris Zaccarelli, Chief Investment Officer for Independent Advisor Alliance.

“We’re still optimistic on the market, however, as we believe that rate cuts aren’t necessary for the bull market to continue,” he added. “Instead, continued economic expansion and growth in corporate profits – which are already seeing from the largest companies in the market – are what will propel stock prices to new highs.”

Sector News

With Microsoft helping to lead the way higher, software stocks have shown a significant move to the upside on the day, driving the Dow Jones U.S. Software Index down by 2.2 percent.

Semiconductor stocks are also turning in a strong performance despite the slump by Intel, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index jumping by 2.1 percent.

Considerable strength is also visible among housing stocks, as reflected by the 1.5 percent gain being posted by the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index.

Networking, retail and commercial real estate stocks have also moved to the downside, while oil producer stocks are bucking the uptrend following disappointing earnings news from Exxon Mobil (XOM).

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index advanced by 0.8 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index surged by 2.1 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index has jumped by 1.5 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is up by 1.2 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.8 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are regaining ground after moving lower over the two previous sessions. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 5.3 basis points at 4.653 percent.

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