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US stocks jump after Tesla boost

Wall Street ended sharply higher led by Tesla, Nvidia and other megacap growth stocks in a choppy session ahead of a key jobs report.

Tesla, Nvidia and Meta Platforms each rose more than 4 per cent on Thursday, fuelling gains in the S&P 500 and Nasdaq. Amazon rallied 3.1 per cent and Apple added 1.7 per cent.

Of the 11 S&P 500 sector indexes, 10 rose, led by Consumer Discretionary, up 3.03 per cent, followed by a 2.69 per cent gain in Materials.

US stocks recovered from a drop earlier in the day after Federal Reserve Vice Chair Lael Brainard said she backs at least a couple more half percentage point interest rate hikes, and sees little case for pausing rate hikes in September if price pressures fail to cool.

The US stock market has staged a modest recovery in recent sessions, with investors debating whether the worst of a selloff that has dominated Wall Street in 2022 may be over.

“Volatility has become the norm, not the exception. Stocks are being held hostage by inflation, and until inflation gets under control, volatility is likely to remain high,” warned Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at US Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The S&P 500 is now down about 13 per cent from its record high close in early January.

The Philadelphia Semiconductor index jumped 3.6 per cent to end at its highest level in almost a month.

US private payrolls increased far less than expected in May, suggesting demand for labour was starting to slow amid higher interest rates and tightening financial conditions, the ADP National Employment report showed.

All eyes are now on the government’s nonfarm payrolls data on Friday, with investors looking for fresh signs of the US economy’s health and how aggressively the Fed may continue to raise interest rates. Analysts are expecting the economy to have added 325,000 jobs last month.

Unofficially, the S&P 500 climbed 1.84 per cent to end the session at 4,176.82 points.

The Nasdaq gained 2.69 per cent to 12,316.90 points, while Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.33 per cent to 33,248.28 points.

Microsoft rose 0.8 per cent, even after the software maker cut its fourth-quarter forecast for profit and revenue, making it the latest US company to warn of a hit from a stronger US dollar.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co slid 5.2 per cent after the technology firm gave a disappointing full-year forecast due to currency headwinds and its exit from Russia.

Veeva Systems rallied almost 15 per cent after the life sciences software seller’s quarterly revenue forecast beat expectations.

Ford Motor Co rose 2.5 per cent after the automaker said it plans to invest $3.7 billion in assembly plants in Michigan, Ohio and Missouri.

Across the US stock market, advancing stocks outnumbered falling ones by a 3.5-to-one ratio.

The S&P 500 posted one new high and 29 new lows; the Nasdaq recorded 33 new highs and 107 new lows.

Volume on US exchanges was relatively light, with 10.7 billion shares traded, compared with an average of 13.3 billion shares over the previous 20 sessions.

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