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Stocks close higher Friday, Nasdaq notches best quarter since 2020: Live updates

Pro Picks: Watch all of Friday's big stock calls on CNBC
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Pro Picks: Watch all of Friday's big stock calls on CNBC

Stocks rose Friday as Wall Street wrapped up a volatile, but winning quarter that saw more Federal Reserve rate tightening and a mini-financial panic spurred on by the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.

The S&P 500 added 1.44% to close at 4,109.31, while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.74% to end at 12,221.91. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 415.12 points, or 1.26%, closing at 33,274.15.

The market got a boost Friday after the Fed's preferred inflation gauge showed a cooler-than-expected increase in prices. The core Personal Consumption Expenditures index, which excludes energy and food costs, rose 0.3% in February, less than the 0.4% expected by economists polled by Dow Jones.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were up 7.03% and 16.77%, respectively, for the first quarter. It was the best quarter since 2020 for the tech-heavy Nasdaq. The Dow ended the period with a 0.38% increase.

For the month, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq have gained 3.51% and 6.69%, respectively. The Dow, meanwhile, advanced 1.89% to end March.

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S&P 500 in the first quarter

But it hasn't been a smooth ride. Stocks mounted a comeback in the latter part of March after the month began with the failure of two regional banks, a forced-takeover of Credit Suisse and a flight of deposits from smaller institutions. The government's backstop of the deposits of SVB, as well as Signature Bank, and the setup of a special lending facility for other banks, helped stem the crisis.

Primary credit lending totaled $88.2 billion while banks took out $64.4 billion through the Fed's new Bank Term Funding Program, according to Fed data released Thursday that covered the period from March 22-29. That total of $152.6 billion was down slightly from $164 billion the week before and a further sign the crisis was stabilizing as the month comes to an end.

The SPDR Regional Banking ETF (KRE) closed about 1% higher on Friday, continuing its comeback from the contagion lows.

Tech stocks were the big winner this month as investors rotated out of financials. The Technology Select SPDR ETF (XLK) added roughly 10% in March.

The recent rally is "helping to confirm the market's perception that the problems that brought the market to a crisis of confidence could very well be contained," said Quincy Krosby, chief global strategist for LPL Financial. 

"The semiconductors, [which] have come to be viewed as an important bellwether for global growth, delivered a strong performance," she added.

Lea la cobertura del mercado de hoy en español aquí.

Stocks notch gains for the day, week, month and quarter

The major averages surged into Friday's close.

The S&P 500 ended the day 1.44% higher to close at 4,109.31, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 1.74% to end at 12,221.91. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 415.12 points, or 1.26%, closing at 33,274.15.

The three indexes each jumped more than 3% on a weekly basis.

For the month, the S&P 500 closed 3.51% higher, while the Nasdaq added 6.69%. The Dow jumped 1.89%.

Finally, for the quarter: The S&P 500 advanced 7.03%, and the Nasdaq rallied 16.77%. The Dow inched higher by 0.38%.

-Darla Mercado

Bond funds keep raking in cash from investors

This week's ETF flows shows investors are still focused on fixed income even as stocks appear to be finding their footing.

The top two U.S. funds for flows over the past week have been the Schwab 5-10 year Corporate Bond ETF (SCHI) and the iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond ETF (IEF), according to FactSet. The two intermediate term bond funds pulled in about $3.8 billion combined.

On the equity side, one sector that appears to be going strong is semiconductors. The First Trust Nasdaq Semiconductor ETF (FTXL) and the VanEck Semiconductor ETF (SMH) were both in the top 15 of the week for net inflows.