S&P 500 rises to retake record at the open, wiping out last week's Fed swoon

S&P 500 rises to retake record at the open, wiping out last week's Fed swoon

The S&P 500 climbed on Thursday, surpassing its record high set a week ago as the market fully recovered losses triggered by the Federal Reserve’s surprise policy pivot.

The broad equity benchmark rose 0.5% to hit an all-time high, retaking its previous record on June 14. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 260 points, or 0.8%, sitting less than 3% from its all-time high. The Nasdaq Composite jumped 0.6% to reach another record.

A broad group of stocks gained to push the benchmarks to new highs. Communication services, consumer discretionary, health care and tech were the best-performing sectors. Tesla added more than 2%, while GM and Caterpillar each gained about 1%.

The blue-chip Dow suffered its worst week since October with a 3.5% loss last week after the Fed heightened inflation expectations and forecast rate hikes as soon as 2023. Economic comeback plays led the market losses as investors bet on slower growth amid the central bank’s hawkish sentiment. The S&P 500 fell 1.9% last week.

Comments from Fed Chair Jerome Powell during a Congressional testimony Tuesday reiterated that inflation pressures should be temporary, which seemed to soothe market jitters.

“With the market hitting new highs this week, investors could be coming to terms with the fact that the Fed will inevitably raise rates,” said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E-Trade.

Data out Thursday showed jobless claims totaled 411,000 for the week ended June 19, higher than an estimate of 380,000 from economists polled by Dow Jones.

“The jobs read is another proof point that the economy is coming back to life, albeit maybe in a slightly bumpier fashion than some anticipated at this stage,” Loewengart said.

Bank shares gained ahead of the Fed’s annual bank stress test results, which are scheduled for release after the bell on Thursday. The test examines how banks fare during various hypothetical economic downturns. Banks were forced to freeze dividends and stop buybacks during the pandemic. These results should give them the greenlight to eventually raise payouts. Goldman Sachs shares rose about 1%.

Traders are also monitoring infrastructure package negotiations. A bipartisan group of Senators that have made progress on a plan will meet President Joe Biden at the White House Thursday. The lawmakers have worked for weeks to craft a roughly $1 trillion package that could get through Congress with support from both parties. Republicans have fought the president’s proposal to hike the corporate tax rate to 28% from 21%.

— CNBC’s Hugh Son contributed reporting.