Strong Earnings Drive Wall Street’s Biggest Gain In Months, Pushing Up Treasury Yields

SYDNEY, April 27 - U.S. stocks closed sharply higher on Thursday and Treasury yields resumed their climb as strong earnings helped investors look past signs of economic weakness.

All three major U.S. stock indexes surged in a broad rally, with megacap tech and tech-related companies boosting the Nasdaq to its biggest one-day percentage gain since mid-March.

The S&P 500 and the Dow scored their largest daily percentage gains since early January.

Upbeat quarterly results from Meta Platforms Inc (META.O), following similarly strong earnings from Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) added fuel to the rally.

"The (earnings) beat from Meta was strong," said Jay Hatfield, portfolio manager at InfraCap in New York. "And on the heels of Microsoft and Alphabet (results), the fear that earnings were going to be terrible really isn’t playing out."

"Earnings are trumping the concern over another Fed (interest rate) hike," Hatfield added.

Economic data released before the bell showed the U.S. economy slowed more than expected in the first quarter, even as price growth became hotter than economists projected. At the same time, initial claims for unemployment benefits fell, suggesting ongoing tightness in the labour market, a major driver of inflation.

"The economic reports continue to show a mixture of decelerating and accelerating trends," said Thomas Martin, Senior Portfolio Manager at GLOBALT in Atlanta. "It’s tough to know how much good news is good news, and vice versa when it comes to what the Fed has to do."

GDP contributors

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) rose 524.59 points, or 1.58%, to 33,826.46 the S&P 500 (.SPX) gained 79.4 points, or 1.96%, to 4,135.39 and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) added 287.89 points, or 2.43%, to 12,142.24.

European stocks closed higher, boosted by a raft of upbeat earnings, particularly from Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE) and Barclays Plc (BARC.L).

The pan-European STOXX 600 index (.STOXX) rose 0.18% and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe (.MIWD00000PUS) gained 1.26%.

Emerging market stocks rose 0.45%. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) closed 0.28% higher, while Japan's Nikkei (.N225) rose 0.15%.

Treasury yields gained ground across the board as investors weighed the looming debt ceiling showdown in Washington and signs that inflation could remain stubbornly high even as the economy slows.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 25/32 in price to yield 3.5242%, from 3.43% late Wednesday.

The 30-year bond last fell 37/32 in price to yield 3.7544%, from 3.689% late Wednesday.

The greenback edged nominally higher against a basket of world currencies following the weaker-than-expected GDP report, which did little to affect financial markets' bets on another rate hike at the Fed's policy meeting next week.

The dollar index rose 0.05%, with the euro down 0.15% to $1.1023.

The Japanese yen weakened 0.16% versus the greenback to 133.89 per dollar, while Sterling was last trading at $1.2491, up 0.19% on the day.

Oil prices rose after Wednesday's sell-off after Russia said OPEC+ sees no need for further output cuts.

U.S. crude rose 0.62% to settle at $74.76 per barrel, while Brent settled at $78.37 per barrel, up 0.88% on the day.

Gold prices inched lower as the dollar strengthened.

Spot gold dropped 0.1% to $1,988.19 an ounce.