After starting this week on a weaker note and declining for two days, the S&P 500 (SPX-INDEX) regained stability on Thursday. On February 22, the S&P 500 opened the day higher and closed the day with mixed sentiment. Nine out of 11 major S&P 500 sectors advanced on Thursday. Strength in the real estate and energy sectors supported the market, while weakness in the healthcare and financials sectors limited the market gains.
The market sentiment weakened on Wednesday following the release of the Fed’s January meeting minutes. The Fed’s minutes caused inflation and interest rate hike concerns to resurface, which weighed on the market. On Thursday, the market attempted to regain strength amid a decline in inflation fears and supporting economic data. According to the Department of Labor, US initial jobless claims declined to 222,000, which is less than the forecast of 230,000. The market is looking forward to FOMC members’ speeches that are scheduled on February 23.
The CBOE Volatility Index (or VIX) measures uncertainty in the market. The index fell 6.5% to 18.72 on February 22. The index is measured on a scale of one to 100 with 20 as the historical average. The VIX is also called the “fear index.” Usually, the index has an inverse relationship with stocks and rises when the S&P 500 falls.
NASDAQ and Dow
The NASDAQ Composite Index (COMP-INDEX) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA-INDEX) opened the day higher amid the improved risk appetite in the opening hours. Despite opening higher, the tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite Index declined on Thursday amid weakness in tech stocks like Netflix (NFLX) and Google’s Alphabet (GOOGL). The NASDAQ Composite Index fell 0.11% and closed the day at 7,210.09. Amid a rally in Caterpillar (CAT) and United Technologies (UTX) as well as improved sentiment, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.66% and closed at 24,962.48 on February 23.
Next, we’ll discuss how the S&P 500’s top gainers performed on February 22.