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US stocks rise as Tesla rallies on GM charger deal

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index rose on Friday in subdued trading, while Tesla’s tie-up with General Motors boosted shares in the electric-car maker.

The S&P 500 was up 0.3 per cent in late-afternoon trade, rising above 4,322 and touching a level it last hit in August 2022 on an intraday basis. The gain pushed the blue-chip stock index deeper into bull market territory as it rose more than 20 per cent above its most recent low in October.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.3 per cent, buoyed by a 4.3 per cent jump in the shares of Tesla.

The carmaker’s shares rose for an 11th consecutive day after it locked in a deal that allowed General Motors customers to use its electric-vehicle charging system, a similar agreement to one it struck with Ford last month.

On a weekly basis the S&P 500 was up 0.5 per cent on track for its fourth consecutive winning streak, while the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.2 per cent eyeing its seventh consecutive week of gains.

In Europe, equities ended the day lower, with the region-wide Stoxx 600 falling 0.1 per cent and Germany’s Dax shedding 0.3 per cent.

London’s FTSE 100 fell 0.5 per cent, dragged lower after a profit warning from Croda. Shares in the chemicals company lost 12.4 per cent, hitting a low last seen in early 2020, after it warned that customers were reducing their inventories. The Stoxx 600 Chemicals index lost 2 per cent.

European gas futures soared 21.5 per cent to €31.75, ending a volatile week higher and ahead of an expected heatwave in parts of Europe over the weekend.

Meanwhile, investors prepared for the Federal Reserve’s policymakers to set interest rates next week, betting they will refrain from raising rates this month. That view gained steam after US unemployment data on Thursday pointed to a cooling labour market.

“Markets jostled with weekly US jobs data that showed unemployment on the rise, giving the Fed more reason to consider a pause in rate hikes when it meets next week,” said Matt Britzman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown. “And the big benefactors? Big Tech of course.”

As an indication of the calm spreading across markets, the Vix volatility index hit 13, its lowest level since the onset of the panic over the coronavirus pandemic three years ago. The benchmark is a measure of expected swings in the S&P over the coming month.

Yet the yield on the two-year US Treasury note, which is sensitive to rate expectations, rose 0.08 percentage points to 4.6 per cent. The yield on the 10-year note rose 0.03 percentage points at 3.74 per cent. Bond yields rise as prices fall.

Investors also await a decision by European Central Bank policymakers next week, betting that they will raise the bank’s deposit rate by 0.25 percentage points, above its current level of 3.25 per cent.

“Despite some recent respite in inflation prints, [ECB president Christine Lagarde] will indicate that their job on inflation is far from being done,” said Mohit Kumar, chief European economist at Jefferies.

In Turkey, the lira extended its fall to record lows, down 1 per cent to 23.34 against the dollar, after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan appointed former US banker Hafize Gaye Erkan to lead the country’s central bank. 

This piece has been amended to reflect the S&P 500 crossed a threshold last hit in August

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