By Yasin Ebrahim
Investing.com — The Dow closed higher Thursday after struggling for direction as Federal Reserve officials including chairman Jerome Powell vowed to continue the fight against inflation.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.6%, or 193 points, the Nasdaq was up 0.60%, and S&P 500 rose 0.7%.
Big tech ended mixed as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), and Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) stumbled, while Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) cut losses to end the day in the green.
Rising semiconductor stocks also helped tech recover lost ground, underpinned by a 4% rise in Advanced Micro Devices Inc (NASDAQ:AMD).
Stifel initiated coverage on AMD with a buy rating and set a $122 price target, forecasting a more than 50% rise from the current price.
The broader market was choppy and struggled for direction, swinging between gains losses as Treasury yields climbed on hawkish remarks from Powell vowing to persist with rate hikes.
Powell said the Fed reiterated the need to persist with rate hikes to battle inflation, vowing to “to keep at it until the job is done.” The central bank “wants a period of below-trend growth,” the Fed chief added.
Other fed members including those who lean more dovish have also struck a hawkish tone. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans on Thursday backed the idea of lifting rates to 4% by the end of the year.
Financials were pushed higher as banking stocks racked up gains on rising Treasury yields.
Citizens Financial Group Inc (NYSE:CFG) and KeyCorp (NYSE:KEY) were up more than 4%, while Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) rose over 3%.
Rising Treasury yields, or rates, boost the net interest margin of banks, the difference between the interest income generated by banks and the amount of interest paid out to depositors.
Mortgage rates, meanwhile, jumped to the highest since 2008 as the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.89% in the week ending Sept. 8, up from 5.66% the week before.
Healthcare was also up 1% powered by a 19% surge in Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:REGN) after it announced positive results from its late-stage clinical trials on its eye medication Eylea.
Moderna Inc (NASDAQ:MRNA) climbed more than 4% after Deutsch Bank upgraded its rating on the pharma giant to buy from hold after revising estimates higher following the latter’s recent strong quarterly results.
Energy steadied after suffering a rout on Wednesday as oil prices settled more than 2% higher, though ongoing concerns about energy demand amid slowing global growth weighed.
The rebound in oil prices came even as crude oil inventories unexpectedly increased by about 9 million last week, confounding expectations for a draw of 250,000 barrels.
In meme-stock news, GameStop Corp (NYSE:GME) said it struck a new partnership with cryptocurrency exchange FTX to jointly work on e-commerce and online marketing initiatives. The news overshadowed the video game retailer’s quarterly results showing a wider than expected loss. Gamestop was up more than 7%.