Stocks close higher after upbeat retail sales, strong Citi earnings

US stocks rallied Friday to cap a four-day losing streak on Wall Street. Sentiment was buoyed by better-than-expected retail sales data and a surprise earnings beat from Citigroup (C).

The S&P 500 surged 1.9%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 657 points, or roughly 2.2%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq climbed 1.8%.

Blowout second-quarter results from Citi lifted shares of banking industry peers to post the best intraday rally for the sector since May, according to Bloomberg data. The mega bank reported an 11% jump in revenue for the period to $19.64 billion, one day after traders mulled a set of disappointing financials from JPMorgan (JPM) and Morgan Stanley (MS). Shares of Citi closed up 13%. Wells Fargo (WFC) and Bank of America (BAC) gained 6% and 7%, respectively.

“In a challenging macro and geopolitical environment, our team delivered solid results and we are in a strong position to weather uncertain times, given our liquidity, credit quality and reserve levels,” Citigroup Chief Executive Officer Jane Fraser said in the earnings statement.

Meanwhile on Thursday, JPMorgan boss Jamie Dimon cautioned in post-earnings remarks that risks to the US economy appear “nearer than they were before” and said “never-before-seen quantitative tightening” is expected to have negative consequences, just one day after another red-hot inflation report spurred speculation among strategists that the Federal Reserve may go as far as to hike rates a full percentage point later this month.

Federal Reserve Board of Governors member Christopher Waller said Thursday he would be open to backing an increase of 100 basis points if upcoming economic releases point to strong consumer spending.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JULY 12: People make their way near to The New York Stock Exchange, on July 12, 2022 in New York. Wall Street is back to falling amid recession, the S&P 500 closed 1.2% lower while tech stocks pushed the Nasdaq down 2.3%. (Photo by John Smith/VIEWpress)

“I’m simply saying, there’s a range of potential outcomes from a soft landing to a hard landing, driven by how much interest rates go up, the effectiveness of quantitative tightening, and defective, volatile markets,” Dimon said in a call with Wall Street analysts Thursday.

Retail sales rose more than expected in June, pointing to continued strength among US consumers even in the face of decades-high inflation and concerns over an economic slowdown, data from the Commerce Department showed Friday. The broadest measure of retail purchases climbed 1% in June from the prior month, while May’s figure was downwardly revised to show a 0.1% drop in sales — the first decline this year. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected retail sales to rise 0.9% last month.

Elsewhere in economic releases, consumer sentiment rose slightly in July to a reading of 51.1, per the University of Michigan’s latest survey. Estimates called for the figure to come in at 50, according to Bloomberg consensus data. The report’s closely-watched inflation expectations data moderated notably, with long-run inflation expectations falling to 2.8% from 3.1% at the end of June.

Shares of Pinterest (PINS) rallied 16% after the Wall Street Journal reported activist investment firm Elliott Management took a 9% stake in the social-media platform, becoming the largest stakeholder in the company as it grapples with a decline in users.

Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc

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