U.S. stocks are up as investors put bank fears in rearview mirror

·2-min read

By Liz Moyer

Investing.com -- U.S. stocks are rising as investors put banking fears in the rearview mirror and look to close out the month and quarter on a positive note.

At 11:08 ET (15:08 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 85 points or 0.3%, while the S&P 500 was up 0.6%, and the NASDAQ Composite was up 0.9%.

With just one day left in the quarter, the S&P and Nasdaq are headed for quarterly gains, while the Dow could end up slightly in the red. Turmoil in the banking sector weighed on stocks for much of March, but those fears have calmed.

The CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX, is around 19 after spiking above 30 mid-month as Wall Street’s so-called fear gauge reacted to the bank tumult.

Futures traders are divided on what the Federal Reserve's next move on interest rates will be. About half are betting on a quarter of a point interest rate hike, while the other half are predicting a pause at the next meeting in May.

The Fed's decision-making could be influenced by the banking turmoil, which is expected to lead to a contraction in credit. But it is also looking at data on the labor market and inflation. Initial jobless claims were 198,000 last week, slightly higher than expectations and higher than a week earlier. But the report is still a sign of a tight labor market.

Gross domestic product for the fourth quarter grew 2.6% from the prior quarter, according to the last reading released today. That's a slight tick down from the 2.7% previously reported.

Shares of Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) rose 3% after the chipmaker announced a timeline for the release of new data center products. EVgo (NASDAQ:EVGO) shares jumped 29% after the operator of fast-charge stations for electric vehicles beat expectations for fourth quarter revenue.

Oil rose. Crude Oil WTI Futures were up 1.6% to $74.17 a barrel while Brent Oil Futures crude rose 1.1% to $78.44 a barrel. Gold Futures were up 0.3% to $1990.

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