Buoyed by surging shares of the nation’s most valuable company, major stock indexes on Friday rebounded from a precarious week for markets—a bout of optimism that helped shares of struggling regional lender Pacific West Bank surge a record nearly 80%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 550 points, or 1.7%, to about 33,674 on Friday, while the S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq jumped 1.9% and 2.3%, respectively.
Heading the surge, shares of Apple rose nearly 5% after the company reported earnings after Thursday’s market close that shattered analyst expectations thanks in part to its best-ever quarter for its services business and the best spring quarter for iPhone sales.
Elsewhere, Pacific Western Bank stock—which has crashed a staggering 78% amid reports of regional lenders struggling and outright failing—surged a record 82%, while Western Alliance Bank, another lender under pressure, jumped nearly 50%.
In a Friday note upgrading a slew of regional bank stocks, JPMorgan analyst Steven Alexopolous said sentiment has turned so negative that “it won’t take much to see a significant” change of tune for the industry.
The selloff in regional banks “appears to have gotten out of hand,” says Oanda analyst Edward Moya, noting some lenders and brokerages—including Pacific Western—have attempted to assuage fears by showing deposits are stabilizing.
After slipping into a bear market late last year, stocks have largely rallied over the past four months—but investors turned cautious this week after First Republic became the second biggest bank failure in American history on Monday. Despite the Friday rally, the Dow still fell more than 1% for the week, and some experts are wary of potential stress to come—particularly since the Federal Reserve chose to raise interest rates again this week even after the latest bank failure. “The longer the Fed has to keep rates this high, the more likely we risk a financial market accident or crash in the economy and that’s what keeps us up at night,” says Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer at Independent Advisor Alliance.
The end-of-week stock surge came after a better-than-expected Labor Department report showing the economy added about 253,000 jobs in April, helping the unemployment rate return to a 54-year low of 3.4%. “With today’s report, the labor market continues to be remarkably resilient to the steady drip of layoff headlines and banking sector turmoil,” says Glassdoor chief economist Aaron Terrazas.
“The regional banks that have failed are the first casualties in what is likely to be a long war against inflation—and indirectly against the economy and corporations,” says Zaccarelli.
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