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S&P 500 and Nasdaq rise as Meta leads a rally in tech shares

Powell didn't fight back against stock market, says Jeffrey Gundlach

The S&P 500 gained on Thursday as better-than-expected Meta results further improved sentiment around technology shares, which led the market lower last year.

The gains come ahead of a trio of Big Tech results after the bell in Apple, Amazon and Alphabet.

The broader market index jumped 0.6%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained nearly 1.9%. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 240 points, or about 0.7%.

Meta surged more than 19% after reporting a fourth-quarter beat on revenue and announcing a $40 billion stock buyback. That helped investors look past losses in the business unit overseeing the metaverse.

Other mega-cap tech stocks rose on the back of those results. Shares of Google-parent Alphabet were up more than 4%, while Amazon jumped more than 3%. Apple shares climbed more than 1%.

Tech stocks have outperformed in 2023, buoyed by recent signals of cooling inflation that investors expect could suggest a pause from the Federal Reserve in its aggressive rate hiking campaign. The S&P 500 information technology sector is up more than 11% this year after a decline of more than 28% last year.

Wall Street is coming off a winning session after the Fed on Wednesday announced a 0.25 percentage point interest rate hike. While the central bank gave no indication of an upcoming pause in rate hikes, investors were encouraged by the smaller increase and Chair Jerome Powell’s comments recognizing easing inflation.

Traders are awaiting the latest jobs report Friday that will give further insight into the labor market. Any signs of cooling could suggest to investors that further rate hikes are off the table.

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