Dow rises 500 points as it seeks to break out of 8-week slump; retail shares gain

Stocks rose Thursday, as Wall Street tried to rebound from a long string of weekly declines.

The Dow rose 448 points, or 1.4%. The S&P 500 climbed 1.6%. Nasdaq gained 1.9%.

The Dow has fallen the last eight weeks, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are riding seven-week losing streaks.

However, the market seems to have somewhat regained its footing this week, as investors hope inflation is starting to peak and that there’s good value to be found at these levels. The Dow and S&P 500 are up 4% and 3%, respectively, for the week. The Nasdaq is also up 2%.

The Dow has also posted gains in the last four sessions.

“Recent one-day rallies have been aggressively sold the next day, which is why global markets holding up (despite NVDA and SNOW being lower) would be a short-term positive,” 22V Research’s Dennis DeBusschere said in a note Thursday.

U.S. equities “are stable with yields lower across the curve and inflation expectations continue to grind lower,” he added. However, “investors are discounting that the tightening of financial conditions over the past 6ish months is enough to slow economic growth meaningfully. That is consistent with the decline in the breadth of U.S. economic data points.”

The moves come after strong earnings from the retail sector gave a boost to investor sentiment, which was bruised by disappointing results from big-box retailers last week. Macy’s shares surged 13% after the company raised its 2022 profit outlook, and Williams-Sonoma rose 4% after beating estimates on the top and bottom lines.

Discount retailers Dollar Tree and Dollar General jumped 17% and 12%, respectively, after posting earnings beats.

PVH, Ralph Lauren and Ulta were also among the top performers in the S&P 500. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF gained 4%.

The financial sector was higher by about 2%. Bank stocks were higher across the board with Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley each up about 3% and Bank of America and Goldman Sachs gaining more than 2%.

On the flipside, shares of chipmaker Nvidia dropped 2% after the company delivered weaker-than-expected guidance for the second quarter and the company’s CFO said Nvidia would slow hiring. Similarly, software stock Snowflake tumbled 12.5% after the company’s guidance for operating margin came in narrower than expected.

Though first-quarter earnings for the market as a whole have been largely in line with historical trends, there have been dramatic pullbacks for some major stocks after earnings reports as investors look for the impact of inflation and slowing economic growth.

“If there’s any reason to sell, they’re embracing it,” said Jeremy Gonsalves, national director of portfolio management at BNY Mellon Wealth Management.

Elsewhere, Twitter shares jumped more than 5% after Elon Musk increased his commitment in his takeover bid to $33.5 billion, which analysts have said indicates a new seriousness and increased probability that he’ll complete the deal.

Chipmaker Broadcom announced plans to buy cloud company VMware in a $61 billion deal, which would be one of the biggest tech acquisitions of all time. Broadcom shares gained more than 1%, and VMWare rose slightly.

First-quarter gross domestic product declined at a 1.5% annual pace, worse than the 1.3% Dow Jones estimate and a writedown from the initially reported 1.4%, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

Initial jobless claims for the week ending May 14 totaled 218,000, which was an increase from the previous period and slightly higher than the 215,000 estimate.

CNBC’s Jeff Cox contributed reporting.

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