The stock market moved higher on Thursday, adding to recent gains a day after the Federal Reserve reaffirmed its commitment to bringing down inflation with more big rate hikes and tighter monetary policy, a move which helped ease recession fears somewhat.
Stocks added to solid gains so far this week: The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.1%, over 300 points, while the S&P 500 gained 1.5% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite 2.3%.
Markets got a boost after weekly jobless claims data showed that Americans filing for unemployment benefits edged higher to 235,000—while economists had been expecting claims to fall slightly, to 230,000—suggesting the tight labor market might be loosening.
Stocks have been rallying since the release of the June meeting minutes from the Federal Reserve, which warned that high consumer prices could become “entrenched” for longer but pledged to use “more restrictive” policy as needed.
With surging inflation showing few signs of moderating, Fed policymakers plan to raise interest rates by either 50 or 75 basis points at the upcoming meeting in July—though markets are pricing in a roughly 96% probability that the Fed will deliver a 75 basis point rate hike, according to CME Group.
Oil prices rebounded on Thursday, despite fears of a recession weighing on markets: The price of US benchmark West Texas Intermediate jumped back above $100 to $102 per barrel, while international benchmark Brent crude now trades at $104 per barrel.
With oil rising, energy stocks were among some of the biggest gainers on Thursday, with shares of Chevron and Exxon Mobil both rising by 4% or more.