Wall Street ends higher on economic data; Arm soars in debut

By Noel Randewich and Ankika Biswas

(Reuters) -The S&P 500 ended higher on Thursday as hotter-than-expected economic data eased worries about a recession without raising fears of a Federal Reserve rate hike next week, while Arm Holdings soared in its stock market debut.

SoftBank’s Arm was valued at nearly $60 billion in a strong Nasdaq debut, with the chip designer’s shares soaring nearly 25% in their first day of trading.

Retail sales rose more than expected in August on higher gasoline prices, while initial claims for state unemployment benefits climbed to a seasonally adjusted 220,000 for the week ended Sept. 9 from 217,000 the week before.

Monthly producer prices for final demand rose 0.7% last month, against expectations of a 0.4% increase. On an annual basis, they increased 1.6% compared with estimates of a 1.2% rise.

“Today’s economic data confirms the path toward a soft landing, but without being so hot that the Fed thinks they might need to do a couple more rate hikes,” said Ross Mayfield, Investment Strategy Analyst at Baird. “All together, it’s pretty bullish.”

Chip designer Arm’s American Depositary Shares opened at $56.1 apiece compared with the initial public offering price of $51, in a sign of confidence for other companies planning to list their shares.

“The game is back on. Capital markets are open for business,” said Thomas Hayes, chairman at Great Hill Capital LLC. “You’re going to see so many IPOs in the next 12 weeks your head is going to spin.”

Traders see a 97% chance of the Federal Reserve holding rates steady in its Sept. 20 policy meeting and a near 67% likelihood of a further pause in November, according to the CME FedWatch Tool.

Citigroup expects the Fed to hike interest rates by 25 basis points in November, compared with its previous forecast of a September hike.

The S&P 500 climbed 0.84% to end the session at 4,505.17 points.

The Nasdaq gained 0.81% to 13,926.05 points, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.96% to 34,907.51 points. It was the Dow’s biggest daily percentage gain since Aug. 7.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 10.0 billion shares traded, compared to an average of 9.9 billion shares over the previous 20 sessions.

HP fell 1.8% after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway sold about 5.5 million shares of the company.

Visa slipped over 2% after the payment processing giant said it was engaging with Class B shareholders on a proposal to convert their shares to Class C or Class A.

Moderna rose 3.9% after a European regulator’s advisory panel recommended authorizing an updated COVID-19 vaccine from the company.

With Thursday’s rally, the S&P 500 is up about 17% so far in 2023, and the Nasdaq is up about 33% over the same period.

Advancing issues outnumbered falling ones within the S&P 500 by a 6.5-to-one ratio.

The S&P 500 posted 12 new highs and 5 new lows; the Nasdaq recorded 37 new highs and 169 new lows.

(Reporting by Ankika Biswas, Shristi Achar A and Medha Singh in Bengaluru, and by Noel Randewich in Oakland, Calif.; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty, Vinay Dwivedi and David Gregorio)


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