After weeks of declines culminated in a brutal Christmas Eve selloff on Monday, some of this month’s pain was eased in Wednesday trading, with major benchmarks seeing the best single-day performance in nearly 10 years.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 5%, ending the day up more than 1,000 points, the largest single-day point increase in the benchmark’s history.
The S&P 500 climbed off the brink of officially entering a bear market, also gaining 5%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite was up almost 6%.
Strong holiday shopping data and assurances from the Trump administration that the president will not fire Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell were overshadowed as potential drivers of the rally by reports that pension fund rebalancing moves were behind the buying spree.
Wells Fargo analysts had forecast that pension funds will buy US$60 billion worth of equities as part of year-end rebalancing. The Financial Times said that administration officials put the number even higher, at US$100 billion.
All major benchmarks are still poised to be in the red for the year.