Dow soars 1,200 points, S&P 500 jumps 5% in biggest rally in two years after light inflation report

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Stocks mounted their biggest rally since 2020 after October’s reading of consumer prices raised investor hopes that inflation has peaked.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 1,201.43 points, or 3.7%, to 33,715.37 for its biggest one-day gain since stocks were emerging from the depths of the pandemic bear market. The S&P 500 jumped 5.54% to 3,956.37 in its biggest rally since April 2020. The Nasdaq Composite surged 7.35%, its best since March 2020, closing at 11,114.15.

October’s consumer price index rose just 0.4% for the month and 7.7% from a year ago, its lowest annual increase since January and a slowdown from the 8.2% annual pace in the prior month. Economists were expecting increases of 0.6% and 7.9%, according to Dow Jones. Excluding volatile food and energy costs, so-called core CPI increased 0.3% for the month and 6.3% on an annual basis, also less than expected.

Treasury yields plunged after the CPI report, with the 10-year Treasury yield falling more than 18 basis points to 3.946% as traders bet the Federal Reserve would slow its aggressive tightening campaign that’s weighed on markets all year. The yield on the 2-year Treasury dropped more than 23 basis points to 4.395% (1 basis point equals 0.01%). The U.S. Dollar, another recent pressure point for stocks, tumbled to its worst day since 2015 vs. a basket of other currencies.

“Interest rates are still running everything in markets,” said Exencial Wealth’s Tim Courtney. “With today’s CPI number coming down, the market is now betting pretty clearly that they think the interest rate [rises] are coming close to an end. So, you see those interest rate sensitive stocks doing really, really well.”

Tech stocks that have been hardest hit by the rise in inflation and surging interest rates led the gains Thursday. Shares of Amazon were up 13%. Apple, Meta and Microsoft were each up more than 6%. Shares of Meta were up 5.4%. Tesla jumped 5.3%.

Semiconductor stocks got a boost too, with shares of Lam Research and Applied Materials each up more than 5%. KLA also popped 3.7%.

Thursday’s advance rekindled the comeback rally that began in mid-October but stalled in recent weeks. The Dow touched its highest since August on Thursday and the S&P 500 rose above the 3,900 level, which has been key resistance for the market.