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* Meta shares surge after Facebook ekes out user growth
* Qualcomm rises after it forecasts upbeat revenue
* GDP fell at a 1.4% annualized rate last quarter
* Indexes close: S&P 500 +2.47%, Nasdaq +3.06%, Dow +1.85%
April 28 (Reuters) - Wall Street ended sharply higher on
Thursday after a strong quarterly report from Meta Platforms
lifted beaten down technology and growth stocks and offset
worries about the U.S. economy's contraction in the first
The Facebook parent surged 17.6% after the social
network reported a larger-than-expected profit and rebounded
from a drop in users.
Communication services and technology
were among the strongest of 11 S&P 500 sector indexes, jumping
4.04% and 3.89%, respectively.
Apple Inc, the world's most valuable company, and
e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc both rallied more than
4% ahead of their quarterly reports later in the day.
In extended trade, Amazon tumbled about 10% after the
company forecast current-quarter sales below Wall Street
Investors have been dumping high growth stocks for weeks,
due to worries about inflation, rising interest rates and a
potential economic slowdown. Even with Thursday's strong gain,
the tech-heavy Nasdaq was down almost 10% in the month of April,
on track for its deepest one-month decline since March 2020.
The S&P 500 has gained or lost 2% or more in a day some 32
times so far in 2022, compared to 24 such days in all of 2021.
"When interest rates, the inflation path and what the Fed is
going to do are so volatile, it just means that pricing every
other asset is that much more difficult," said Zach Hill, head
of Portfolio Strategy at Horizon Investments in Charlotte, North
"We've done a lot of earnings data over the last couple days
and weeks and by and large, outside of a few particular cases,
corporate America's underlying fundamentals have been relatively
strong," Hill said.
The U.S. economy unexpectedly contracted in the first
quarter as COVID-19 cases surged again, and government pandemic
relief money dropped.
The first decrease in gross domestic product since the short
and sharp pandemic recession nearly two years ago, reported by
the Commerce Department, was mostly driven by a wider trade
deficit as imports surged, and a slowdown in the pace of
Unofficially, S&P 500 climbed 2.47% to end the session at
The Nasdaq gained 3.06% to 12,871.53 points, while Dow Jones
Industrial Average rose 1.85% to 33,916.39 points.
The Ukraine war, China's COVID lockdowns and surging
inflation have weighed on the outlook for the global economy,
sparking volatility ahead of the Federal Reserve's May meeting
next week. Fed watchers expect a 50-basis-point rate hike.
Overall, first-quarter earnings have been better than
expected, with 81% of the 237 companies in the S&P 500 that have
reported results so far beating Wall Street expectations.
Typically, only 66% of companies beat estimates, according to
Qualcomm Inc surged 9.7% after the chipmaker
forecast third-quarter revenue above analyst expectations.
The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index surged 5.6% in
its biggest one-day gain in over a year.
Caterpillar Inc fell 0.7% after it warned that
profit margins in the current quarter were likely to be
pressured from surging costs.
Among other movers, Amgen Inc fell 4.3% after the
drugmaker said the U.S. Internal Revenue Service is seeking
additional back taxes of $5.1 billion.
Volume on U.S. exchanges was 12.3 billion shares, compared
with an 11.8 billion average over the last 20 trading days.
Across the U.S. stock market, advancing stocks
outnumbered declining ones by a 2.6-to-one ratio.
The S&P 500 posted five new 52-week highs and 44 new lows;
the Nasdaq Composite recorded 25 new highs and 672 new lows.
(Reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar, Medha Singh and Devik Jain
in Bengaluru and by Noel Randewich in Oakland, Calif.; Editing
by Arun Koyyur, Aditya Soni and David Gregorio)