Wall Street had a great day on Friday as gains in the tech sector and a rally in Amazon shares helped the Nasdaq chalk up its best day in nearly a year.
The S&P technology index led the way higher, up 2.91 percent. The index chalked up its best day since March 1, 2016 and is up nearly 35 percent on the year versus the 15-percent gain in the S&P 500.
Google-parent Alphabet gained 4.26 percent as its revenue gained from advertising sales.
Microsoft rose 6.41 percent after the world’s largest software company reported further gains from its cloud computing services.
Also lifting the sector were shares of Apple, which chalked up a gain of 3.58 percent after the company allayed concerns of muted demand for its 10th anniversary phone.
Intel closed up 7.38 percent after its quarterly results exceeded estimates and the company raised its full-year forecasts.
Amazon chalked up a gain of 13.22 percent and, was responsible for the largest stimulus to the S&P 500 index after reporting a quarterly sales bump. Its gains helped lift the consumer discretionary sector 1.60 percent to its best daily performance since December 7.
Adding to the positive sentiment, third-quarter GDP indicated that the economy unexpectedly maintained a brisk pace of growth, at a 3-percent annual rate, despite a hurricane-led drop in consumer spending and construction activities.
A report about President Donald Trump favoring Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell as the head of the U.S. central bank also a degree of stimulus for stocks. In Powell’s potential appointment, investors see a continuation of the current monetary policy.
For the week, the Dow rose 0.5 percent, the S&P 500 gained 0.2 percent and the Nasdaq advanced 1.1 percent. The S&P has chalked up gains for seven straight weeks, its longest weekly winning streak in three years.
Earnings growth for the third quarter is now 6.7 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data. Of the 273 companies that have posted earnings, 74 percent have topped expectations, as compared to the 72 percent earnings growth over the past four quarters.
Not all earnings were positive, however. Chevron’s 4.14 percent decline weighed on the S&P and the Dow after the oil company’s earnings number missed estimates.
Merck fell 6.05 percent after the company reported a revenue drop due to a cyber-attack and loss of market share for many of its older drugs.
Approximately 7.43 billion shares changed hands on the major domestic equity exchanges, a number that was above the 6.04 billion share daily average over the past 20 sessions.
Third Quarter GDP Shows 3 Percent Rise
The economy continued to grow in the third quarter as an increase in inventory investment and a smaller trade deficit offset a hurricane-related slowdown in consumer spending and a decline in construction. The increase was also supported by strong business spending on equipment,
According to a Commerce Department report released Friday morning, gross domestic product increased at a 3.0 percent annual rate in the July-September period. With inventories, goods yet to be sold, contributing almost three-quarters of a percentage point to growth last quarter, the increase in GDP overstates the economy’s health.
Excluding inventory investment, the economy grew at a 2.3 percent rate, slowing from the second quarter’s 2.9 percent pace. A measure of domestic demand also decelerated to a 2.2 percent growth rate from the April-June period’s 3.3 percent pace.
The economy grew at a 3.1 percent pace in the second quarter. It was the first time since 2014 that it experienced growth of 3 percent or more for two quarters in a row.
The Commerce Department indicated that while it was impossible to estimate the overall impact of hurricanes Harvey and Irma on third-quarter GDP, preliminary estimates showed that the back-to-back storms had caused losses of $121.0 billion in privately owned fixed assets and $10.4 billion in government-owned fixed assets.
Harvey and Irma struck parts of Texas and Florida in late August and early September. Hurricane Maria, which destroyed infrastructure in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, had no impact on third-quarter GDP growth as the islands are not included in the United States’ national accounts.
Post-hurricane labor market, retail sales and industrial production data already show an acceleration in underlying economic activity. There is over an 80 percent probability that the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates in December.
The economic recovery since the 2007-2009 recession is now in its eighth year and showing little signs of fatigue. The economy is being powered by a tightening labor market, which has largely maintained a strong performance that started during former President Barack Obama’s first term.
Businesses accumulated inventories at a $35.8 billion pace in the third quarter, leading to inventory investment adding 0.73 percentage point to third-quarter GDP growth. Inventories contributed just over a tenth of a percentage point to output in the prior period. Economists expect a modest boost from inventories in the fourth quarter.
Though export growth slowed in the last quarter, that was eclipsed by the steepest pace of decline in imports in three years, leaving a smaller trade deficit, which added four-tenths of a percentage point to GDP growth. Trade has contributed to output for three quarters in a row.
Business investment in equipment rose at an 8.6 percent rate, increasing for a fourth straight quarter. Growth in consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the U.S. economy, slowed to a 2.4 percent rate as hurricanes Harvey and Irma hurt incomes.
Consumer spending rose at a robust 3.3 percent pace in the second quarter and is likely to accelerate in the fourth quarter with a separate report on Friday showing consumer sentiment holding at lofty levels in October.
Despite the moderation in consumer spending, inflation perked up in the third quarter, probably due to disruptions to the supply chain caused by the hurricanes.
The Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index excluding food and energy, increased at a 1.3 percent rate. That followed a 0.9 percent pace of increase in the second quarter.
With inflation rising, income at the disposal of households increased at a 0.6 percent rate, braking sharply from the second-quarter’s strong 3.3 percent pace.
Investment in nonresidential structures fell at a 5.2 percent pace in the third quarter, the biggest drop in nearly two years, as spending on mining exploration, wells and shafts grew at only a 21.7 percent rate, a sharp deceleration from the second-quarter’s 116.3 percent pace.
Investment in homebuilding, which was already undermined by land and labor shortages, contracted for a second consecutive quarter. Government investment recorded its third straight quarterly decline.