U.S. stocks climbed on Friday, led by bank shares and economic reopening plays as investors cheered data showing subdued inflation.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 230 points. The S&P 500 rose 0.7%, while the Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.5%.
Financial stocks rose after the Federal Reserve announced that banks could resume buybacks and raise dividends starting at the end of June. The central bank originally said it would lift pandemic era restrictions in the first quarter, but even the delayed move gives investors more clarity.
Shares of JPMorgan rose 1.5%, while Bank of America advanced 2%. Goldman Sachs gained 1%.
Classic reopening plays built on the momentum from the previous session. American Airlines climbed 1%, while Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line all climbed more than 1%.
Fears of rising inflation eased after data showed tamed price pressures. The core personal consumption expenditure price index, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.1% month over month, matching expectations from economists polled by Dow Jones. Year over year, the gauge climbed 1.4%, slightly lower than a 1.5% estimate.
Meanwhile, consumer sentiment in the U.S. continued to rise amid the vaccine rollout. A University of Michigan survey released Friday showed the final reading of the index of consumer sentiment was 84.9 in March, up from 76.8 in February. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected a reading of 83.7.
The major averages are on track to eke out small gains for the week after back-to-back gains. The S&P 500 and the Dow are both up about 0.4% this week, while the Nasdaq has inched up 0.2% on the week.
“If you’re positioned the way we are, which is for a cyclical recovery and being overweight the value sectors, certainly you can’t run a victory lap here,” Jason Trennert, CEO of Strategas Research Partners, said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.” “But it is nice to see, after the last six days, that some of the trends that have been in place for the better part of six months seem to be reasserting themselves.”
President Joe Biden on Thursday announced a new goal of having 200 million Covid vaccination shots being distributed within his first 100 days in office. As of Friday, 100 million coronavirus vaccinations had been given since Biden was inaugurated.