Wall Street posted its biggest week since June as strong retail sales boosted investors’ risk appetite in the stock market, despite mounting inflationary pressures on the US economy.

The S&P 500, which includes the largest 500 stocks in the US, and the heavy Nasdaq Composite are up 2% each during the week, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 1%.

It was the second straight week of gains for the three indices, putting an end to a market that had a volatile start to the fourth quarter as inflation from higher commodity prices led to sharp volatility in stocks since the beginning of October.

Friday’s increase came after the Commerce Department’s September US retail sales figures showed growth of about 14% over the year and a steady monthly expansion of 0.7% since August.

Economists in a US media survey expected a 0.2% monthly decline in retail sales in September due to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, especially inflation. But every major sector of the economy saw positive sales instead, showing promise ahead of the holiday shopping season between October and December.

“Wall Street was expecting a slowdown in spending, but it turns out the American consumer shouldn’t be tampered with,” said Ed Moya, an analyst at online trading platform OANDA. “Retail sales may drop next month, but an early holiday is happening and it looks like Americans are ready to spend big this holiday season.”

In fact, stocks have been buoyant since Thursday when the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s September policy meeting made it clear that the US central bank intends by November or December to begin gradually tapering off stimulus and wrap up exercise by mid-2022. About when the Fed will start In the downturn, it affected markets for months, given the beneficial effect of risk from the central bank’s monthly purchase of bonds and other assets of up to $120 billion per month.

The new pandemic era in US weekly jobless claims and better-than-expected US corporate earnings for the third quarter also boosted stocks on Thursday.

In Friday’s trading, the S&P 500 index settled at 4471, up 33 points, or 0.8%. The blue-chip index is already up 1.7% on Thursday, already the index’s biggest one-day gain since March 5. Over the course of the week, the S&P 500 rose 1.8%, its highest level since the week ended June 18.

The Nasdaq Composite Index, which includes the names of major technology companies such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, closed at 14,897, up 74 points, or 0.5%. For the week, the Nasdaq rose 2.2%, its biggest advance since the week ending July 16.

The Dow, which is mostly made up of industrial-value stocks, ended Friday’s session at 35,295, up 382 points, or 1.1%. Over the week, the Dow is up 1.6%, its highest level since the week ended June 18.

(The title and image for this report may have been reworked only by the Business Standard team; the rest of the content is automatically generated from a shared feed.)

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