The major averages finished the volatile week on a high note following a surge in the last hour. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 453 points higher, or 1.4%, to 33,072. The S&P 500 rose 1.7% to 3,974, hitting a record closing high. The Nasdaq Composite erased a 0.8% loss and ended the session 1.2% higher at 13,138. All three major benchmarks rallied to their session highs into the close.
Classic reopening plays built on the momentum from the previous session. United Airlines climbed more than 1%, while Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line jumped 1.3% and 3% respectively. Cyclical sectors energy and materials led the gains, rising more than 2% each.
President Joe Biden on Thursday announced a new goal of having 200 million Covid vaccination shots being distributed within his first 100 days in office. As of Friday, 100 million coronavirus vaccinations had been given since Biden was inaugurated.
Financial stocks rose after the Federal Reserve announced that banks could resume buybacks and raise dividends starting at the end of June. The central bank originally said it would lift pandemic era restrictions in the first quarter, but even the delayed move gives investors more clarity. Shares of JPMorgan rose 1.7%, while Bank of America advanced 2.7%.
Fears of rising inflation eased after data showed tamed price pressures. The core personal consumption expenditure price index, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.1% month over month, matching expectations from economists polled by Dow Jones. Year over year, the gauge climbed 1.4%, slightly lower than a 1.5% estimate.
The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield came off its high following the inflation data, and inched back up throughout the day. The benchmark rate rose 6 basis points to 1.67%.
Meanwhile, consumer sentiment in the U.S. continued to rise amid the vaccine rollout. A University of Michigan survey released Friday showed the final reading of the index of consumer sentiment was 84.9 in March, up from 76.8 in February. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected a reading of 83.7.
The Dow and the S&P 500 posted modest gains for the week, up 1.4% and 1.6%, respectively. The Nasdaq fell 0.6% on the week, however. The market rally has slowed down in recent weeks as rising interest rates and valuation concerns hit tech names.
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