Post Worst Week of 2023 Stocks Inch Higher After Indexes

Markets have been rocked in February by signs of stubborn inflation.

Consumer discretionary, industrial and information technology shares led the S&P 500 higher, while so-called safety stocks in utilities, healthcare and consumer staples declined. 

The S&P 500 gained 12.20 points, or 0.3%, to close at 3982.24, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 72.17 points, or 0.2%, to end at 32889.09. The Nasdaq Composite increased 72.04 points, or 0.6%, to 11466.98.

Union Pacific popped $19.45, or 10%, to close at $212.17 after the railroad company said it would acquiesce to pressure from an activist hedge fund and replace its chief executive. 

Renewable-energy companies Enphase Energy and SolarEdge Technologies each added more than 5%. Tesla continued to rally, rising $10.75, or 5.5%, to $207.63, bringing its 2023 gains to 69%.

Treasury yields eased Monday, with the yield on the 10-year U.S. note falling to 3.921%, from 3.948% Friday. The yield on the 2-year note, which is more sensitive to expectations around Fed policy, traded at 4.791% after settling Friday at 4.803%, its highest level since July 2007.

James Rutherford, head of European equities at Federated Hermes, said that while recent inflation surprises have unsettled markets, selloffs have been relatively short lived.

“Last week, some of the data spooked people and yields moved up again. But here we are on Monday morning and actually that’s sort of all forgotten about,” said Mr. Rutherford. “People are slightly hardened to it and understand that rates might go a little bit higher…but the market is not looking at next month’s inflation data, it’s looking at six months or nine months or even 12 months.”