The S&P 500 gained Wednesday in an intraday reversal as investors shrugged off a quarter-point rate hike from the Federal Reserve.
The S&P 500 gained 0.2% and the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.9%, boosted by gains from chipmakers following strong earnings from Advanced Micro Devices. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat.
The Fed’s latest hike represented a slowdown from its half-point hike in December, giving a nod to investors hoping the central bank would ease its aggressive tightening campaign.
However, the central bank gave no real hint of a pause in the hikes, keeping the wording in its post-meeting statement that “continued increases in the target range will be appropriate to achieve a monetary policy stance sufficiently restrictive to bring inflation down to 2% over time.”
And Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told a news conference that the Fed should be restrictive for a while and the central bank still has work to do.
“I don’t see any signs yet that the Fed is open to rate cuts in 2023,” said Bill Zox, portfolio manager at Brandywine Global. “I’m not sure the Fed is even attempting a soft landing. Although they never say so, they might prefer the restorative aspects of a recession and a real bear market.”
There have been recent indications that inflation is slowing across the economy and the Fed has acknowledged this, saying it “has eased somewhat but remains elevated.”
Benchmarks were boosted as fourth quarter corporate earnings largely continued to show resilient earnings. Platoon Shares jumped more than 17% after the fitness equipment company said its net loss narrowed year-on-year. Advanced micro-systems Shares gained more than 8% after the semiconductor company reported an increase in fourth-quarter profits.
Wall Street is coming off a solid session at the end of January. The S&P 500 capped its best January performance since 2019, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite posted its best January in 22 years.