The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 4.4% this week, giving June a strong start as the materials and technology sectors led broad gains amid hopes for lower interest rates.
The market benchmark ended the week at 2,873.34, up sharply from last week’s closing level of 2,752.06. This snaps a weekly losing streak that had reached four weeks last week, when trade worries had led the index to log its first monthly drop since December.
This week’s climb came even as May employment data released Friday by the US showed the pace of hiring slowed in May, with nonfarm payroll employment increasing by 75,000 last month, versus April’s growth of 224,000 and economists’ consensus estimate of 180,000 additions, according to Econoday.
However, even as the unemployment rate remained at 3.6%, slightly below the expected rate of 3.7%, investors are hoping the weaker-than-expected US growth in May nonfarm payrolls will help bolster the case for the Federal Open Market Committee to cut rates at an upcoming meeting.
The increased hopes for lower rates come after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Tuesday that the central bank would “act as appropriate to sustain the expansion” in the economy.
All of the S&P 500’s sectors rose this week, led by the materials sector, which jumped 9.1% as gold futures rallied amid the hopes for a rate cut. When rates are lower, gold becomes more attractive to yield-seeking investors.
Among the materials sector’s gainers on the gold rally, shares of Newmont Goldcorp (NEM) rose 7.8% this week.
Sherwin-Williams (SHW) was also among the materials sector’s strong stocks this week as investors were encouraged to see the paint and coatings company reaffirm its 2019 profit guidance. Shares of the company jumped 13%.
The technology sector had the second-largest percentage increase of the week, up 6.0%.
The technology sector’s gainers included Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), whose shares soared 18% this week as Morgan Stanley upgraded its investment rating on the stock to equal-weight from underweight, saying it had made the “wrong call” on the chip maker’s stock. The firm’s analysts said conversations they have had with computer makers have caused them to believe the use of AMD products will increase next year.
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