U.S. stocks pushed higher Wednesday as strong earnings from Nike and FedEx, along with upbeat consumer confidence data, lifted sentiment after a recent bout of selling.
An upbeat gauge of consumer confidence also raised the mood on Wednesday. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index rose to 108.3 this month — the highest since April — from an upwardly revised 101.4 reading in November, data released Wednesday showed. Economists expected a figure of 101, per Bloomberg consensus estimates.
Nike (NKE) shares soared 13% after the retailer handily beat second-quarter profit and revenue expectations and reported a decline in inventories from the previous period. While the pileup was still up year-over-year, Nike CEO John Donahoe said he believed the company was past its inventory peak.
Shares of FedEx Corporation (FDX) jumped nearly 5% after the company revealed its aggressive cost saving efforts. CEO Raj Subramaniam said FedEx identified an additional $1 billion in savings beyond the forecast it gave in September as part of its “ongoing transformation while navigating a weaker demand environment.” FedEx sparked a deep sell-off in September when it issued a warning about its outlook for the U.S. economy.
Meanwhile, Rite Aid’s (RAD) stock tanked about 17% after the drugstore chain reported losses in the fiscal third quarter, weighed down by a drop-off in COVID vaccinations and testing.
Tesla (TSLA) remained in the limelight after sliding 8% to a fresh two-year low on Tuesday – a decline that came after dropping 16% last week. Chief Executive Elon Musk confirmed on Twitter late Tuesday that he would step down as head of Twitter once he finds a replacement. Shares of Tesla were up 1.5% Wednesday afternoon.
Oil prices rose for a third straight day as traders weighed a report that showed a larger-than-expected drop in U.S. stockpiles against worries over demand and an expected snowstorm domestically. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up nearly 3% to top $78 per barrel.
Wednesday’s moves come after a volatile session Tuesday that followed a hawkish move by the Bank of Japan – seen as the last of central banks with easy money policies – to raise the cap on its 10-year government bond yield after the U.S. Federal Reserve, European Central Bank, and others raised interest rates last week.
Investors have been hoping for a Santa Claus rally — a steady rise in the stock market that typically occurs at the end of December, typically defined as covering the last five trading days of the year and first two of the new year. But concerns over “higher for longer” rates and a looming recession have dampened seasonal optimism.
Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc