U.S. stocks drifted higher on Friday to log gains across the board, capping the final full trading week of 2022.
When the closing bell rang on Wall Street, the S&P 500 (^GSPC) rose 0.6%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) rose 0.5%, while the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) gained 0.2%.
The U.S. stock and bond markets will be closed on Monday, Dec. 26, in observance of the Christmas holiday.
With Friday’s move, the S&P 500 and Dow managed to stave off losses for the week, while the Nasdaq fell around 1.5%. Still, markets are on pace to finish off the worst year for equity markets since 2008 as the trading year wraps up on Friday, December 30.
Oil prices ascended Friday and paced toward a big weekly gain as investors expected a drop in supply of Russian crude.
WTI crude oil settled up 2.77% on Friday at $79.64 a barrel. For the week, WTI gained more than 6% after hitting lows for the year earlier this month.
U.S. Treasury yields inched higher, while the U.S. dollar index retreated against a basket of other currencies.
The economic data flow was substantial this week, and Friday was no exception.
The PCE price index — the Fed’s preferred inflation measure — out Friday morning showed prices rose 5.5% over the prior year November and 0.1% from the prior month, on par with consensus estimates from economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The figured marked a moderation from readings of 6.1% and 0.3% for annual and monthly inflation, respectively, in October.
Core PCE, which strips out the volatile food and energy components, rose 4.7% year-over-year and 0.2% on a monthly basis.
Meanwhile, personal spending stagnated in November to the weakest print since July.
“The Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation continues to go down, which is good news for their most important objective, but unfortunately for the market, it is happening at the same time as consumers continue to reduce their spending,” Independent Advisor Alliance Chief Investment Officer Chris Zaccarelli said in a note.
Elsewhere in economic data, U.S. consumers’ attitudes toward the economy improved in December. The University of Michigan said Friday that its consumer sentiment index rose to 59.7 this month from 56.8 in November, up slightly from the 59.1 preliminary mid-month reading. And new home sales edged higher in November from the month before, rising 5.8% from October.
After the Fed’s final policy decision of 2022 last week, strategists pointed out that the most surprising data point among economic projections from officials was an upward revision to their core PCE expectations to 3.5% from 3.1% previously at the end of 2023. This suggested to many analysts the Federal Reserve will need to keep rates at an elevated level through 2023.
“We’re expecting the Fed to revise down its forecasts as soon as March, though progress initially will be slow; policymakers appear to have been scarred by the experience of the past year-and-a-half, and will want to be sure they aren’t moving their numbers down prematurely,” Pantheon Macroeconomics Chief Economist Ian Shepherdson said in a note. “Markets won’t wait.”
Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc
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