VIX Tumbles Toward Pre-Covid Levels as Stocks Gain: Markets Wrap
(Bloomberg) -- The relentless rally in big tech and bets on a pause in Federal Reserve hikes following a mixed jobs report drove US stocks toward a bull market.
An advance of about 1.5% for the S&P 500 Friday extended the benchmark’s surge from its October low to nearly 20%. A gauge of megacaps like Tesla Inc. and Apple Inc. headed toward its sixth straight week of gains — the longest winning run in almost two years. Broadcom Inc. climbed after predicting that sales tied to artificial intelligence will double this year.
As stocks rallied, Wall Street’s fear gauge plummeted toward its lowest level since February 2020. The Cboe Volatility Index, or VIX, dropped below 15 from an average of 23 in the past year.
“The impressive run for equities continues to drive retail investors into the market,” said Mark Hackett, chief of investment research at Nationwide. “Investors have spent much of the past three years obsessed by the Fed, inflation, and payrolls, though volatility around those reports has settled, reflecting a less emotional market. This is bullish, as less reactivity is a sign of a healthy market.”
The buzz around artificial intelligence has investors pouring a record amount of money into tech stocks, Bank of America Corp. says.
A “baby bubble” in AI was the dominant market theme in May, strategist Michael Hartnett said, with tech funds attracting an all-time high of $8.5 billion in the week through May 31, according to the bank citing EPFR Global data.
Flows into global equity funds overall hit $14.8 billion, while $1.1 billion went into bond funds, the data show.
Meantime, Wall Street’s reaction to the latest jobs report showed bets that another Fed hike is likely in the bag — but that wouldn’t necessarily happen in June.
Signs of labor-market slackening in May despite a pickup in hiring could strengthen the argument from Chair Jerome Powell and other officials that they should take more time to assess incoming data and the evolving outlook before raising rates again.
Two-year yields, which are more sensitive to imminent central bank moves, jumped 18 basis points to 4.52%. Swaps are pricing almost a quarter-point hike across the next two Fed meetings. But indicating a less than 50% chance of that happening this month.
“The key question now is: can they wait until July or does this monster payrolls number trigger another burst of urgency?” said Seema Shah, chief global strategist at Principal Asset Management. “Perhaps the report details, with the unemployment rate rising and average hourly earnings growth slowing, tilts the decision to July.”
The Fed should be open to raising interest rates by a half percentage point in July if it opts to hold off from tightening this month, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers said.
“We are again in a situation where the risks of overheating the economy are the primary risks that the Fed needs to be mindful of,” the Harvard University professor said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s David Westin on Friday.
Some of the main moves in markets:
- The S&P 500 rose 1.4% as of 2:15 p.m. New York time
- The Nasdaq 100 rose 0.6%
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2%
- The MSCI World index rose 1.4%
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.3%
- The euro fell 0.5% to $1.0707
- The British pound fell 0.7% to $1.2443
- The Japanese yen fell 0.9% to 140.06 per dollar
- Bitcoin rose 0.7% to $27,053.08
- Ether rose 1.3% to $1,893.1
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries advanced 10 basis points to 3.70%
- Germany’s 10-year yield advanced six basis points to 2.31%
- Britain’s 10-year yield advanced four basis points to 4.16%
- West Texas Intermediate crude rose 2.4% to $71.76 a barrel
- Gold futures fell 1.4% to $1,966.80 an ounce
This story was produced with the assistance of Bloomberg Automation.
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.
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