Stocks rallied into the close, ending just shy of session highs, as optimism over progress on U.S.-China trade talks appeared to overshadow concerns about a slowing economic expansion, while investors embraced the market debut of ride-hailing company Lyft Inc., shares of which closed 8.7% higher than where they priced Thursday evening.
The session marked the final trading day for the first quarter of 2019, with the S&P 500 notching its best quarterly performance in nearly a decade.
How did the benchmarks fare?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +1.24% rose 211.22 points, or 0.8%, to 25,928.68, while the S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +1.09% gained 18.96 points to 2,834.40, a rise of 0.7%. The Nasdaq Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.69% advanced 60.16 points, or 0.8%, to 7,729.32. /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +1.24%
The S&P 500 closed out the week with a 1.2% gain, a 1.8% monthly rise and a first-quarter advance of 13.1%, the best quarterly performance since the third quarter of 2009.
The Dow notched a 1.5% weekly gain, while eking out a roughly 0.1% gain for March, and an 11.2% charge higher in the first quarter.
The Nasdaq, meanwhile, logged a 1.1% weekly rise, while up 2.6% for the month and advancing 16.5% for the first three months of the year. The small-cap Russell 2000 /zigman2/quotes/210598147/delayed RUT +1.10% , however, put in a 2.3% March drop, trimming its quarterly advance to about 14.2%.
What’s drove the market?
Shares of Lyft Inc . /zigman2/quotes/208999293/composite LYFT +3.74% made their debut on the Nasdaq at a price of $87.24, more than 20% above the $72 level at which the shares priced late Thursday, giving the ride-sharing company an initial market capitalization of roughly $25 billion. The stock pulled back in the subsequent hours, and closed the day up 8.7%. Strong demand for the stock suggested investor confidence in the health of the bull market, analysts said.
Apparent progress on trade talks between Beijing and Washington were credited with buoying stocks. China’s Shanghai Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -1.91% rose 3.2% and the small-capitalization Shenzhen Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598015/delayed CN:399106 -2.82% added 3.4%.
On Friday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tweeted that “constructive” discussions between China’s trade envoy and U.S. officials, including U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, concluded:
Hopes for progress on the long-running tariff dispute had helped to support a market rally in recent days, even as weaker data domestically contributed to fears that slack in growth outside the U.S. is beginning to affect the business climate.
On Thursday, the final read of gross domestic product for the last three months of 2018, a measure of goods and services produced across the economy, slowed to a 2.2% annual rate from an earlier 2.6% estimate, underscoring anxieties about fading momentum wrought from corporate tax cuts enacted in late 2017.
Falling Treasury yields, and an inversion of the yield curve, have reflected growth fears on Wall Street. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note /zigman2/quotes/211347051/realtime BX:TMUBMUSD10Y +2.92% on Friday was at 2.40% from 2.389% Thursday, but still near a 15-month low. Bond yields and prices move in opposite directions.