Wall Street gains as weak job openings data fuels hopes of rate-hike pause

Tuesday saw an increase in Wall Street’s primary indices, driven by the surge of growth stocks like Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) and Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL), after a decline in monthly job openings. This decline further solidified the belief in a temporary pause in the U.S. Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes.

In July, the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Turnover Survey (JOLTS) revealed that the number of job openings was 8.827 million. This marked the third consecutive monthly decline, indicating a reduction in labor market pressures.

Investors also analyzed an additional report from the Conference Board, which indicated that consumer confidence in the United States dropped to 106.1 in August, contrasting with the anticipated level of 116.

“In both the JOLTS and the consumer confidence number, you’re seeing exactly what you’d want to see, a gradual decrease,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B Riley Wealth.

“All of those things paint a picture for the potential of a soft landing.”

After the data, traders’ expectations of the Fed maintaining stable rates in September were at 86.5%, and predictions of a pause in November also increased compared to the previous day. This information comes from the FedWatch tool provided by the CME Group (NASDAQ:CME).

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note declined to 4.13%, and the two-year note returned below 5%. This reversal occurred after hovering around the 5% mark during recent sessions.

The drop in yields provided a boost to the majority of growth stocks. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Alphabet, Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA), and Tesla all experienced gains ranging from 1.5% to 6.0%.

Alphabet’s shares also saw an uplift due to the unveiling of a variety of new artificial intelligence technologies and partnerships by its parent company, Google.

The S&P 500 communication services sector rose 2.6%, while consumer discretionary and technology stocks gained 1.9% each.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq was at a more than two-week high.

The upcoming non-farm payrolls report on Friday is expected to provide investors with greater insight into the condition of the labor market. Additionally, attention will be directed towards the personal consumption expenditures index, the preferred inflation measure of the Fed, scheduled for release on Thursday.

The lack of unexpectedly hawkish remarks from Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s speech at the Jackson Hole symposium last week helped bolster stocks on Monday. The focus has now turned to upcoming economic data to gauge how long the central bank might sustain elevated interest rates.

Catalent (NYSE:CTLT) experienced a 5.1% increase after a settlement with activist investor Elliott Investment Management, which entails conducting a review.

By 11:35 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had risen by 157.55 points, equivalent to 0.46%, reaching 34,717.53. The S&P 500 increased 45.61 points, translating to 1.03%, and stood at 4,478.92. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite surged by 211.96 points, marking a 1.55% rise, and reaching 13,917.09.

Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T (NYSE:T) both registered gains of over 2% each after a “buy” upgrade from “neutral” by Citi for the telecom companies.

U.S.-listed shares of PDD Holdings rose 17.4% after the e-commerce firm beat second-quarter revenue estimates.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 3.69-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 2.69-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 13 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 37 new highs and 82 new lows.