Wall St extends rally on signs of ebbing Fed rate hikes



(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window.)

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Alphabet, Microsoft shares dip in post-market trading after earnings reports

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Consumer confidence sours, home price growth cools

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S&P 500 closes 8% above Oct. 12 closing trough

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Indexes up: Dow 1.07%, S&P 1.63%, Nasdaq 2.25%

(Updates with closing prices)

By Stephen Culp

NEW YORK, Oct 25 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks closed sharply higher on Tuesday as soft economic data hinted that the Fed's aggressive policy is taking effect, while falling benchmark Treasury yields boosted the rally's momentum.

All three major U.S. stock indexes advanced for the third straight session, with market-leading megacaps providing the most upside muscle. The S&P 500 has reclaimed about 8% from the trough of its Oct. 12 close.

"There’s increasing discussion about a light at the end of the tunnel for Fed rate hikes," said Bill Merz, head of capital market research at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis. Merz also cautioned that it wouldn't be known for some time whether decades-high inflation was "decisively headed toward the Fed’s target."

"We’re seeing a bit of a reprieve in the dollar and long-term bond yields have come down a little bit," Merz added. "Those factors are combining to provide room for a bit of a rally."

Yields of 10-year Treasuries pulled pack on hopes that the Federal Reserve could begin easing its battle against inflation.

A mixed brew of earnings and downbeat forecasts, usually a negative for markets, suggested the barrage of interest rate hikes from the Fed is beginning to be felt, raising hopes that the central bank could pull back on the size of rate hikes after its Nov. 1-2 policy meeting.

Data on Tuesday showed slowing home price growth and souring consumer confidence. Such signs of economic softness, ordinarily unsupportive of risk appetite, are evidence of abating Fed hawkishness.

The financial market is nearly evenly split on whether the central bank's December rate increase will ease to 50 basis points after a string of 75 basis point hikes, according to CME's FedWatch tool.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 337.12 points, or 1.07%, to 31,836.74, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 61.77 points, or 1.63%, to 3,859.11 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 246.50 points, or 2.25%, to 11,199.12.

Among the 11 major sectors of the S&P 500, all but energy .SPNY posted gains on the day, with real estate .SPLRCR enjoying the largest percentage gain.

Third-quarter reporting season is firing on all pistons, with 129 of the companies in the S&P 500 having reported. Of those, 74% have beaten consensus expectations, according to Refinitiv.

Analysts have set the bar low; aggregate S&P 500 earnings growth is now seen landing at 3.3% year-on-year, down from 4.5% at the beginning of the month, per Refinitiv.

Coca-Cola Co KO.N rose 2.4% after the company upped its revenue and profit forecasts, banking on steady demand amid price increases.

General Motors GM.N reaffirmed its outlook after posting solid earnings, sending its shares jumping 3.6%.

On the downside, aerospace company Raytheon Technologies Corp RTX.N posted a near 5% annual revenue increase, but its shares slid 1.5% on the company's trimmed sales outlook.

Shares of Google parent Alphabet Inc GOOGL.O dropped as much as 6% in after hours trading after the company missed quarterly revenue estimates.

Microsoft Corp MSFT.O fell more than 2% in after hours trading despite its revenue beat.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 5.35-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.67-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 14 new 52-week highs and 1 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 85 new highs and 120 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 11.89 billion shares, compared with the 11.57 billion average over the last 20 trading days.
Reporting by Stephen Culp; Additional reporting by Amruta Khandekar and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; editing by Grant McCool

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