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

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A Wall Street sign is pictured outside the New York Stock Exchange in New York, October 28, 2013. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights

  • Alphabet rises on fresh artificial intelligence partnerships
  • PDD jumps on second-quarter revenue beat
  • Catalent gains on settlement with Elliott to explore review
  • Indexes up: Dow 0.46%, S&P 1.03%, Nasdaq 1.55%

Aug 29 (Reuters) – Wall Street’s main indexes rose on Tuesday, lifted by growth stocks such as Tesla and Alphabet after a drop in monthly job openings cemented expectations of a pause in interest rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), showed the number of job openings stood at 8.827 million in July, falling for the third straight month and signaling easing labor market pressures.

Investors also parsed another report from the Conference Board that showed consumer confidence in the United States fell to 106.1 in August, compared with expectations 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.”

Traders’ bets that the Fed would keep rates unchanged in September stood at 86.5% after the data, while bets of a pause in November also rose from a day earlier, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note eased to 4.13%, while that on the two-year note fell back below 5% after hovering around that level for the past few sessions.

The decline in yields supported most growth stocks, with Microsoft (MSFT.O), Alphabet (GOOGL.O), Nvidia (NVDA.O) and Tesla (TSLA.O) up between 1.5% and 6.0%.

Alphabet shares also received a boost from a swath of fresh artificial-intelligence technology and partnerships unveiled by the Google-parent.

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

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

The non-farm payrolls report on Friday will offer investors more clarity about the state of the labor market. Focus will also be on the personal consumption expenditures index, the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, which is due on Thursday.

Lack of hawkish surprises in Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s comments at the Jackson Hole symposium last week had cushioned stocks on Monday, with the focus now on the upcoming economic data to gauge how long the central bank could keep interest rates elevated.

Catalent (CTLT.N) climbed 5.1% after the contract drugmaker reached a settlement with activist investor Elliott Investment Management to conduct a review.

At 11:35 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) was up 157.55 points, or 0.46%, at 34,717.53, the S&P 500 (.SPX) was up 45.61 points, or 1.03%, at 4,478.92, and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) was up 211.96 points, or 1.55%, at 13,917.09.

Verizon (VZ.N) and AT&T (T.N) gained more than 2% each after Citi upgraded the telecom companies to “buy” from “neutral”.

U.S.-listed shares of PDD Holdings (PDD.O) 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.

Reporting by Shristi Achar A and Amruta Khandekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Shristi is a correspondent, part of the markets team reporting on the stock markets across U.S., UK, Canada, Europe and Emerging markets.

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