The Dow Is Rising, Tesla Is Jumping—and What Else Is Happening in the Stock Market Today

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Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell tiptoes a line between getting inflation under control and triggering a recession.

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Tom Williams/Getty Images

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Stocks were jumping Friday, amid signs that central bankers may be starting to take a possible global growth slowdown seriously and raising hopes in the market that they won’t increase interest rates as quickly as feared.

In afternoon trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 442 points, or 1.4%, while the S&P 500 gained 2.5%, and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 3.9%.

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Those moves come one day after all three indexes rallied in the late afternoon from their lows, with the Nasdaq scratching out a small gain and the S&P 500 and Dow finishing with small losses.

It was a sign that the bulls were not done fighting, and it may have been triggered by comments made by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. In a radio interview, Powell said that he expects the Fed to lift rates by half a point at each of the next two meetings as the central bank combats inflation, reiterating what he said at last week’s FOMC meeting.

But he also acknowledged that it might not go as smoothly as the central bank would like, a sign, perhaps, that the Fed won’t simply raise rates without concern for possible economic damage. The stock market seems focused on the less aggressive interest rate hiking plans rather than the current risk to the economy, wrote David Rosenberg, founder of Rosenberg Research.

“We said last week that the Fed put is still alive but at a lower level,” wrote NatAlliance Securities’ Andrew Brenner, referring to the fact that the Fed has begun reassuring the stock market as it nears bear market territory, defined as a 20 % drop. The S&P 500, at just under 4000, needs to fall to 3837 to reach such territory.

To be sure, this “Fed put” isn’t like past ones. In the past several years, the Fed would signal that rate cuts could be on the way when there was trouble in the economy. Today, markets are expecting several rate hikes, but maybe there won’t be as many as markets fear. Powell is showing that he can take a hint from an ailing stock market and an economy facing several risks.

Others are thinking along the same lines. “Where is the Fed ‘put?’” wrote Dennis Debuschere, founder of 22V Research. “With the S&P down… there is a growing assumption that at some point the Fed will reduce rate hike rhetoric to calm markets.”

Another factor that certainly isn’t hurting the market is that China implied that its stringent lockdowns to stop the spread of Covid-19 may end on May 20. The drop-off in economic activity in China had threatened global growth, while also exacerbating supply -chain problems. It even posed a threat to some companies’ ability to meet sales expectations. Apple (ticker: AAPL) said on its earnings report that it could see a $4 billion to $8 billion hit to sales in the current quarter because of China lockdowns. Friday, Apple stock was gaining 3.2%.

The rally hasn’t been limited to the US Overseas, the pan-European Stoxx 600 climbed 2.1%, and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained 2.6%.


Even cryptocurrencies were gaining, as Bitcoin and other digital assets surged after the largest crypto briefly dropped to its lowest level since late 2020. The price of Bitcoin was up 10% over the past 24 hours and above the key $30,000 level.

Here are six stocks on the move Friday:

Twitter (TWTR) slumped 8.7% after Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk—who recently agreed to buy the social media group—said the deal was “temporarily on hold” pending a calculation related to the number of fake accounts on Twitter. Tesla shares rose 7.1%.

Robinhood Markets (HOOD) shot up 25% after a filing revealed that Sam Bankman-Fried, co-founder of crypto exchange FTX and an influential voice in digital assets, bought a large stake in the retail stock broker.

FIGS tumbled 26% after the maker of fashionable medical scrubs cut its revenue forecast for 2022 to a range of $510 million to $530 million, down from $550 million to $560 million, citing supply chain challenges and inflation.

Affirm Holdings (AFRM) surged 28% after the “buy now, pay later” group raised its revenue forecast for fiscal 2022 to a range of $1.33 billion to $1.34 billion, up from prior estimates of $1.31 billion.

First Solar (FSLR) stock gained 5.8% after getting upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Piper Sandler.

Write to Jacob Sonenshine at [email protected] and Jack Denton at [email protected]


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