S&P 500 rises Friday led by Apple, but still heads for fourth-straight down week

The market is set to wrap up a roller-coaster week with the S&P 500 headed for its worst month since March 2020.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell about 50 points, or 0.2%. The blue-chip average was up about than 250 points at its highs. The S&P 500 ticked up 0.2%. The Nasdaq Composite rallied 0.5%, buoyed by Apple’s post-earnings gain.

Shares of Apple added about 5% after a stellar quarterly results, providing some stability to the stock averages. The company reported its largest single quarter in terms of revenue ever even amid supply challenges and the lingering effects of the pandemic. Visa also added more than 7% after a strong earnings report.

On downside, Chevron shares fell around 5% after missing Wall Street earnings expectations. Dow component Caterpillar dipped more than 6% even after it topped profit estimates.

The major indexes have experienced outsized swings each day this week — including the Dow making up a more than 1,000-point intraday deficit to close higher on Monday for the first time ever.

“The huge intraday movements are indicative of the challenge that the market now faces, which is that financial conditions are going to be tightening,” said Yung-Yu Ma, chief investment strategist at BMO Wealth Management. “As new information comes in, as markets overreact in one direction or another, this type of volatility and some of these swings are probably going to be with us for some time, given the nature of what the market’s trying to price in.”

High, low, and closing levels for the Dow Jones Industrial Average

Chart: Nate Rattner / CNBC

Source: FactSet. As of Jan. 27, 2022.

High, low, and closing levels for the Dow

Jones Industrial Average

Chart: Nate Rattner / CNBC

Source: FactSet. As of Jan. 27, 2022.

High, low, and closing levels for the Dow Jones Industrial Average

Chart: Nate Rattner / CNBC

Source: FactSet. As of Jan. 27, 2022.

The S&P 500 is headed for four consecutive losing weeks. The Nasdaq Composite has dropped more than 2% this week, on track for its fifth straight negative week.

“It has been a frustrating week for investors. It’s kind of this push-pull or tug-of-war between bulls and bears,” Darrell Cronk, chief investment officer for wealth and investment management at Wells Fargo, told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.” “The lows may not be in yet on this kind of correction.”

The S&P 500 is wading into correction territory, down more than 9% from its intraday record. The Nasdaq sits about 16% from its high.

The Russell 2000, the small-cap benchmark, is in a bear market, finishing Thursday down 20.9% from its record close.

With January ending Monday, the S&P 500 is on pace for its weakest month since March 2020. The Dow could see its worst month since March 2020 and worst January since 2009. The tech-heavy Nasdaq is headed for its worst month since October 2008 and worst first month of the year of all time.

The market’s fear gauge, the Cboe Volatility Index, shot up to its highest level since October 2020 earlier this week and has traded above 30.

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Investors on Friday continued to digest the Federal Reserve’s pivot to tighter policy.

The Federal Open Market Committee indicated Wednesday that it likely soon raise interest rates for the first time in more than three years as part of a broader tightening of historically easy monetary policy. Markets are now pricing in five quarter-percentage-point interest rate hikes in 2022, though the long-range expectation for rates is little changed.

“As advertised, this week was dominated by the Fed meeting and parsing its Wednesday statement and comments from Fed Chair Powell,” Chris Hussey, a managing director at Goldman Sachs, said in a note. “And on Friday, the Fed’s hawkish tilt received as-expected support from another high inflation print.”

December’s core personal consumption expenditures price index, the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, jumped 4.9% from the year prior, the Commerce Department reported Friday. The PCE jump is higher than economists expected and the hottest reading since September 1983. Along with the inflation numbers, personal income rose 0.3% for the month, a touch lower than the 0.4% estimate.

—CNBC’s Jeff Cox and Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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