US equities rallied on Monday, with investors increasingly confident the Federal Reserve will slow the pace of interest rate rises when it meets next week.
Wall Street’s blue-chip S&P 500 was 1.4 per cent higher in afternoon trading, with all sectors in positive territory. Advanced Micro Devices, Qualcomm and Nvidia advanced 8.5 per cent, 6.6 per cent and 7.7 per cent, respectively, after Barclays upped its price targets for semiconductor groups.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite had gained 2.1 per cent. Spotify’s shares jumped as much as 6.4 per cent after the music streamer said it would axe 6 per cent of its workers — the latest in a series of large cuts announced by high-flying technology groups. It later pared gains to 2.4 per cent.
“The market’s taking a risk-on approach at the moment, viewing that we’re going to have a soft landing and a more positive outlook for rates and inflation,” said Neil Birrell, chief investment officer at Premier Miton. On Monday’s strong gains for chipmakers, “Barclays’ note has been quite influential,” Birrell added. “They’ve been big bears, so to turn positive is a big shift.”
The moves come after Fed governor Christopher Waller last week threw his weight behind a 0.25 percentage point interest rate rise at the US central bank’s next policy meeting in early February, even as he warned there was a “considerable way to go” before inflation fell back to 2 per cent. The Fed lifted borrowing costs by half a point at its previous meeting in December.
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