By Devik Jain
(Reuters) -Wall Street’s main indexes rallied for a second straight session on Friday as investors hunted for bargains at the end of a volatile week sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with sentiment also lifted by Moscow’s willingness for talks.
Global stocks rebounded, while oil prices fell below $100 a barrel and safe-haven gold came off 18-month highs after Western sanctions on Russia targeted its banks but left its energy sector largely untouched.
Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in a call that Russia was willing to hold high level talks with Ukraine, China’s foreign ministry said.
That news came as missiles pounded Kyiv, and the Ukrainian capital braced for assault as Russian forces closed in.
All of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with healthcare, financial, consumer staples leading the gains with a near 3% rise.
“We’re kind of in this wait-and-see time period on the inflation and on the Ukraine-Russia front. Until we get some clarity on that, the market is probably a bit more susceptible to every single headline that’s out there,” said Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist, Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management.
“And so the headline now is that Russia is willing to talk, if the headline changes later in the day, I suppose, you might see a sell-off.”
The softer-than-expected sanctions helped snap risk-off sentiment on Thursday, with Wall Street bouncing back in a late-session rally, led by a 3% gain in the Nasdaq.
The benchmark S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq are now tracking small weekly gains.
“Yesterday, the market realized that prices have been getting to the point where the valuations just were looking attractive enough,” said David Sekera, chief U.S. market strategist, at Morningstar.
“With the situation in Ukraine, kind of evolving and the sanctions not being as bad as what people feared, we’re starting to see that uplift here in the short term.”
Sectors such as information technology and consumer discretionary, which houses some of the megacap companies, underperformed after rallying sharply in the previous session.
At 13:10 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 698.35 points, or 2.10%, at 33,922.18, the S&P 500 was up 71.22 points, or 1.66%, at 4,359.92, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 102.50 points, or 0.76%, at 13,576.09.
Johnson & Johnson climbed 4.6% after a U.S. judge ruled that the drugmaker’s subsidiary can remain in bankruptcy, preventing plaintiffs from pursuing 38,000 lawsuits against the company alleging its baby powder and other talc products cause cancer.
Etsy Inc jumped 15.4% after the online crafts retailer beat estimates for fourth-quarter results, boosted by strong holiday demand for gifts and other products on its online marketplace.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 3.32-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.85-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 11 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 30 new highs and 53 new lows.
(Reporting by Devik Jain and Bansari Mayur Kamdar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Sriraj Kalluvila)