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US STOCKS-Retailers lead Wall Street rebound after four-day slide

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* Amazon, retailers jump on holiday sales report

* Energy shares strong as oil prices surge

* S&P sniffs bear market territory, before rebounding

* Fed chair's job not in jeopardy, White House adviser says

* Indexes up: Dow 2.85 pct, S&P 2.87 pct, Nasdaq 3.79 pct (Updates to late afternoon)

By Lewis Krauskopf

Dec 26 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were rebounding sharply onWednesday, fueled by an Amazon-led surge in retail shares aftera steep slide for equities had put the S&P 500 on the brink of abear market.

The S&P 500 and the Dow industrials jumped more than 2percent each while the Nasdaq surged over 3 percent in the firstday of trading following the Christmas holiday, when the marketwas closed.

Sales in the 2018 U.S. holiday shopping season rose 5.1percent to over $850 billion, the strongest in six years,according to a Mastercard report. The S&P 500 retailing index .SPXRT jumped 5.4 percent, while shares of online retailerAmazon AMZN.O , which touted a "record-breaking" season,climbed 6.9 percent. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N1YV2J4

Oil prices also surged, boosting sentiment for risk assetssuch as stocks, while underpinning a 3.8 percent gain for energyshares .SPNY .

Stocks found their footing after wobbling in morning trade.The S&P 500 came within 2 points of falling 20 percent from itslate-September closing high, a threshold commonly used to definea bear market.

"The market is extremely oversold where we left it" onMonday, said Brett Ewing, chief market strategist at FirstFranklin Financial Services in Tallahassee, Florida.

"You cannot make the assumption that this correction isover, but today's action is definitely a very positive signal."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 621.04 points,or 2.85 percent, to 22,413.24, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 67.58points, or 2.87 percent, to 2,418.68 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 234.71 points, or 3.79 percent, to 6,427.63.

Ewing said that short-sellers who profit from marketdeclines may have been covering their bets on Wednesday, "whichmakes violent moves up."

The S&P 500 was on track to break a four-session streak ofdeclines. But it was still on pace for its biggest monthlypercentage drop since October 2008, during the throes of thefinancial crisis.

Ten of 11 major S&P 500 sectors were in positive territory,with the technology sector .SPLRCT , beaten up during therecent pullback, up 3.8 percent.

The head of the U.S. Federal Reserve faces no risk of losinghis job and President Donald Trump is happy with his Treasurysecretary, a White House official said in an apparent attempt tocalm Wall Street nerves frayed by Trump's criticism of the Fed. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N1YV0DB

The most recent decline in stocks followed a Fed meetinglast week, when it raised interest rates again and Fed chairmanJerome Powell did not soften his tone about the outlook forfurther financial tightening to the degree investors had hoped.

"I think the market is realizing that the Fed is open tobeing more flexible," Ewing said.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a3.81-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.53-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted no new 52-week highs and 194 new lows;the Nasdaq Composite recorded 7 new highs and 485 new lows.

lewis.krauskopf@thomsonreuters.com lewis.krauskopf.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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