Higher oil prices are adding to the inflation that is forcing the Fed to raise interest rates. Here, an oil pump jack in Texas.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
It might seem like a head-scratcher that the stock market has surged in the past few weeks. Don’t be surprised if it continues.
The S&P 500 has risen about 9% to 4,543 from 4,170, its lowest closing level of the year, which it hit on March 8. That comes even though the factors dragging stocks down are formidable.
The price of oil remains far higher than before Russia invaded Ukraine, and investors fear it could rise anew as the West punishes Moscow with sanctions on Russian exports. Higher oil prices imply inflation even faster than the worrisome levels seen before the war began.
The Federal Reserve, meanwhile, has made it clear that it will tackle inflation by raising interest rates aggressively, with some 10 or 11 increases over the next two years.
All that would drag down economic growth, with unpleasant effects on corporate profits—a key driver of stock prices. And yet, it looks like stocks’ recent run isn’t over.
According to Instinet’s chief market technician, Frank Cappelleri, the
could hit 4,715 soon for an almost 4% gain. That call looks reasonable because the index has moved above its 50-day moving average—a sign that investors are comfortable buying at recent levels.
In addition to that small vote of confidence, the S&P 500 posted gains of 1% or more for six of the eight trading days heading into Friday. That is only the third time in history that has happened, according to Instinet. The firm’s data show that when the market goes on such a winning streak, it posts gains for the coming months and leaves its recent low point behind.
Increased certainty about the Fed’s stance on interest rates is another positive factor. Stocks fell early in the year as it became clear that the Fed…