U.S. stock market gains as volatility drops to post-pandemic low


All three major stock indexes on Wall Street gained on Thursday as the market's volatility fell to a new post-pandemic record low.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at 33,833.61, adding 168.59 points or 0.5 percent. The S&P 500 index, a tracker of top American companies' stocks, gained 26.41 points or 0.62 percent to close at 4,293.93. Meanwhile, tech-heavy index Nasdaq Composite concluded the session at 13,238.52 after increasing by 133.63 points or 1.02 percent.

The CBOE Volatility Index, a measure of equity market volatility expectations according to the S&P 500 index options, declined by 2.08 percent to 13.65. In the previous session, the index closed at 13.9, marking the first time it went below 14 after the pandemic.

"What you are really seeing in the vol market is an unwillingness to engage," said DWS Group Americas chief investment officer David Bianco.

The consumer discretionary sector led the gain among the 11 major S&P 500 sectors, rising by 1.56 percent. The real estate and energy sectors lost 0.63 percent and 0.44 percent, respectively, with analysts saying the latter was hit by a decline in oil prices.

Analysts noted that a rebound in technology and megacap stocks supported major indexes on Thursday despite the "thin" trading volume. Amazon traded 2.49 percent higher to $124.25 after Wells Fargo upgraded its stock rating to "overweight," saying the tech company may rally as much as 30 percent if it changes its fulfillment models and improves margins.

Apple's stock also added 1.55 percent to $180.57. The iPhone maker previously saw a decline in its stock value after introducing Vision Pro, an augmented-reality headset. Analysts said investors saw Apple's move as "risky" because the virtual reality headset market is dominated by Meta. Furthermore, the price point of Vision Pro is significantly higher than Meta's headsets.

GameStop plunged 17.89 percent after the video game retailer ousted CEO Matt Furlong and announced Ryan Cohen as the new executive chairman. The company also posted $50.5 million in net loss from January to March. It recorded $1.24 billion in sales in the first quarter of the year, lower than the $1.37 billion achieved in the same period the year before.

Shares of Adobe rose by 4.95 percent to $439.03 after Piper Sandler increased the stock's price target to $500. Earlier, the computer software firm announced that it was offering its artificial intelligence tool "Firefly" to large-size businesses.

Lucid Group, on the other hand, posted a 1.88 percent loss after its head of China operations, Zhu Jiang, announced that the luxury electric-vehicle producer was preparing to enter the Chinese market.

Wait for new economic data, Fed's policy meeting

Financial markets worldwide are anticipating new economic data from the U.S. and the Federal Reserve's policy meeting next week, say analysts.

The U.S. Labor Department will publish the consumer price data on June 13, coincidentally on the first day of the Federal Open Market Committee's meeting. Economists predict that headline consumer price inflation in the U.S. slowed down last month, but core prices — excluding food and energy costs — remained high.

In its May meeting, the Fed asserted that it would monitor inflation data to determine the need for further rate hikes. Some Fed officials, including Fed governor Christopher Waller, previously argued that the central bank should prolong the monetary tightening cycle because inflation did not slow fast enough.

Other officials, including Fed governor Philip Jefferson, said they would likely support a "skip" in rate hikes this month to gain better insights on the U.S. economy.

Fed fund futures predict a 73 percent probability that the Fed will maintain the country's benchmark rate at the current 5.00 to 5.25 range next week. However, the market forecasts a 50 percent chance for a rate hike in July. The yield of two-year Treasury notes, which usually moves according to short-term interest rate expectations, declined to 4.51 percent on Thursday.