Wall Street notched more gains Tuesday, as major stock indexes rallied for the third day and Treasury yields fell again.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 1.6%, with roughly 90% of stocks in the index notching gains. The benchmark index hadn’t been able to string together more than two gains in a row since mid-September.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 1.1%, and the Nasdaq composite closed 2.3% higher. Smaller company stocks outpaced the broader market, lifting the Russell 2000 index 2.7% higher.
The latest gains came as bond yields fell significantly, reflecting speculation among investors that the Federal Reserve may begin easing its aggressive pace of interest rate increases as soon as this year.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which affects mortgage rates, slipped to 4.09% from 4.23% late Monday. The yield on the two-year Treasury, which tracks Federal Reserve action, fell to 4.45% from 4.50% late Monday.
“It seems like the market is saying that they think perhaps longer-term yields have peaked, and that’s providing some optimism to the [stock] market,” said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab.
The S&P 500 rose 61.77 points to 3,859.11. The Dow added 337.12 points to close at 31,836.74. The Nasdaq gained 246.50 points at 11,199.12. The Russell 2000 picked up 47.76 points, closing at 1,796.16.
Technology stocks, retailers and communication companies were among the biggest drivers of Tuesday’s rally. Traders were sizing up a heavy round of earnings reports from big U.S. companies.
General Motors rose 3.6% after delivering solid results. United Parcel Service initially rose but then slipped 0.3% after the package delivery service beat Wall Street’s third-quarter earnings and revenue forecasts. Paint maker Sherwin-Williams jumped 3.6% after also reporting solid financial results.
Packaging maker Crown Holdings fell 16.8% after its latest earnings fell short of estimates. Industrial conglomerate General Electric fell 0.5% after reporting weak third-quarter earnings.
Many other big names are on deck to report earnings throughout the week. Boeing, Ford and Facebook’s parent company will report results Wednesday. Caterpillar, Apple and Amazon are among the big companies reporting results Thursday.
Outside earnings, barbecue grill maker Weber soared 30.4% after it said BDT Capital Partners is interested in buying the rest of the company. Adidas fell 2.4% after the German sportswear company ended its partnership with the rapper formerly known as Kanye West over his offensive and antisemitic remarks.
The latest round of earnings reports is particularly important for investors looking for indications of inflation’s effect on industries. Prices on clothing, food and many other goods remain at their highest levels in four decades, putting pressure on companies to raise prices and cut costs, while squeezing consumers.
The Federal Reserve and central banks around the world have been raising interest rates to tame inflation. That has investors concerned about the central bank going too far in trying to slow the economy and instead causing a recession.
The Fed is expected to raise interest rates another three-quarters of a percentage point at its meeting in November. But traders have grown more confident that the Fed will dial down to a more modest increase of 0.50 percentage points in December, according to CME Group.
Markets have been looking for any sign that the central bank is ready to ease up on rate increases. That includes data that the economy is slowing.
A measure of home prices released Tuesday showed that the housing market continues to cool. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index, which tracks prices in major cities, fell more than expected in August. The Fed’s aggressive interest rate increases have been making borrowing more expensive, in turn driving mortgage rates higher and crimping the broader housing market.
The U.S. economy is already slowing and actually contracted during the first half the year. The government will release its third-quarter gross domestic product report Thursday.