Wall Street rallies as jobs data fuels interest rate optimism

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A Wall Street sign outside the New York Stock Exchange

A Wall Street sign is pictured outside the New York Stock Exchange in New York, October 28, 2013. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights

  • Alphabet rises on fresh AI partnerships
  • PDD jumps after second-quarter revenue beat
  • Catalent gains on settlement with Elliott to explore review
  • Indexes up: S&P 500 +1.30%, Nasdaq +1.64%, Dow +0.73%

Aug 29 (Reuters) - Wall Street rallied on Tuesday, lifted by Tesla, Nvidia and other megacap growth stocks after a drop in monthly job openings cemented expectations of a pause in interest rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq climbed to their highest in over two weeks after the Labor Department's Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) showed the number of job openings stood at 8.827 million in July, falling for the third straight month and signaling easing labor market pressures.

Investors also parsed a report from the Conference Board showing consumer confidence in the United States fell to 106.1 in August, compared with expectations of 116.

Interest rate futures signaled an 87% chance the Fed will keep rates steady at its September meeting and a 54% chance it will keep rates on hold through November, according the CME Group's FedWatch tool.

"Investors are of the mindset that 'You know what, maybe interest rate hikes are indeed behind us. So let's buy back into stocks'," said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note eased to 4.11%, while that on the two-year note fell back below 5% after hovering around that level for the past few sessions.

The decline in yields supported growth stocks, with Tesla (TSLA.O) jumping 6.2%, Nvidia (NVDA.O) climbing 4.5% and Meta Platforms (META.O) up over 2%.

Tesla and Nvidia led in turnover, with about $24 billion traded in each stock.

Alphabet (GOOGL.O) received a boost from a swath of fresh artificial-intelligence technology and partnerships unveiled by the Google-parent.

Of the 11 S&P 500 sector indexes, 11 rose, led by communication services (.SPLRCL), up 2.22%, followed by a 2.1% gain in information technology (.SPLRCT).

The July non-farm payrolls report on Friday will offer investors more clarity about the state of the labor market. Focus will also be on the personal consumption expenditures index, the Fed's preferred inflation gauge, which is due on Thursday.

Lack of hawkish surprises in Fed Chair Jerome Powell's comments at the Jackson Hole symposium last week buoyed stocks on Monday, with the focus now on the upcoming economic data to gauge how long the central bank could keep interest rates elevated.

Catalent (CTLT.N) jumped 5.8% after the contract drugmaker reached a settlement with activist investor Elliott Investment Management to conduct a review.

The S&P 500 was up 1.30% at 4,491.03 points.

The Nasdaq gained 1.64% to 13,930.09 points, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.73% at 34,812.17 points.

Verizon (VZ.N) and AT&T (T.N) gained nearly 3% each after Citi upgraded the telecom companies to "buy" from "neutral".

U.S.-listed shares of PDD Holdings (PDD.O) rose 16% after the Chinese e-commerce firm beat second-quarter revenue estimates.

Advancing issues outnumbered falling ones within the S&P 500 (.AD.SPX) by a 7.6-to-one ratio.

The S&P 500 posted 17 new highs and two new lows; the Nasdaq recorded 43 new highs and 100 new lows.

Reporting by Shristi Achar A and Amruta Khandekar in Bengaluru, and by Noel Randewich in Oakland, Calif.; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Deepa Babington

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Shristi is a correspondent, part of the markets team reporting on the stock markets across U.S., UK, Canada, Europe and Emerging markets.

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