Slowing growth in the U.S. gross domestic product was not enough to hold back global equities as traders keyed into rising crude oil prices and a Bank of Japan stimulus move that was seen as reason for the Federal Reserve to reconsider its planned interest rate hikes.
As a result, stocks rallied, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining 397 points, or 2.3 percent, to 16,464, while the S&P 500 rose 2.5 percent to 1,940. The Nasdaq rose 2.4 percent to finish at 4,614. However, the S&P Retail Industry, dragged down by Amazon’s retreat of 7.6 percent to $587, closed down 0.3 percent to 1,190.
Earlier in the day, all the major indices in Europe and Asia closed higher. The FTSE 100 in London closed up 2.6 percent to 6,084 while the German DAX rose 1.6 percent to 9,798 and the CAC 40 in France increased 2.2 percent to 4,417. The Asia Dow closed up 1.9 percent to 2,513, while the Nikkei 225 gained 2.8 percent to 17,518 and the Hang Seng index jumped 2.5 percent to 19,683. The Shanghai Index in China finished up 3.1 percent to 2,738.
Decliners in the U.S. retail, fashion apparel and beauty segments included: Sears Holdings Corp., with a 2.6 percent drop to $16.95; Delta Apparel Inc., with a 0.4 percent decline to $12.05; Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. with a 0.1 percent decline to $66.87, and Gildan Activewear Inc., which fell 0.1 percent to $25.20.
Most of the retail stocks tracked by WWD finished with increases of 2 to 5 percent, and investors gobbled up shares of companies that had suffered under prior stock routs. The gainers included: New York & Co. Inc. with a 6.8 percent gain to $2.20; Vince Holding Corp. with a 6.8 percent to jump to $5.17; Zumiez Inc.’s 7 percent increase to $18.11; Bon-Ton Stores Inc. with a 9.7 percent gain to $1.70, and Avon Products Inc. with a 15.7 percent jump to $3.39.
The global rally was triggered when the Bank of Japan moved to a negative interest rate policy, which sent the value of the yen plunging and stock markets in Asia higher. Gains in crude oil also buoyed results with the commodity closing the day with a 1.3 percent gain to $33.64 a barrel.
Regarding the gross domestic product for the fourth quarter, it increased 0.7 percent, which is lower than the third quarter’s 2 percent gain. Meanwhile, prices continued to drop with the fourth-quarter price index increasing only 0.2 percent, which compares to the third-quarter’s 1.3 percent gain. The report also showed that personal income fell while personal taxes gained and personal spending declined.
Household savings showed a gain.