Panic-like buying in the stock market takes hold as Dow surges nearly 700 points
A nearly 700-point gain in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and a surge in the Nasdaq Composite Index Friday morning has resulted in the equity market seeing panic-like buying. The moves come on the back of dovish comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell during a panel discussion with his predecessors in Atlanta. The Arms Index, a volume-weighted measure of breadth, tends to decline below 1.000 on broader-market rallies, as volume in advancing shares tends to increased disproportionately to volume in declining shares. When the Arms falls below 0.500, many consider a sign of panic buying. The Dow was up 644 points at 23,327. The Dow was up by as many as 691 points at its Friday peak at 23,377.69. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 index rose 2.9% at 2,519, while the Nasdaq was climbing 3.8% at 6,707. Those gains saw the NYSE Arms hit 0.491, while the Nasdaq Arms is at 0.709. The number of advancing stocks outnumbered decliners by a ratio of about 8 to 1 on the NYSE, with volume in advancing stocks was about 94% of total volume on the NYSE. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said Friday he's flexible about future monetary policy moves, proving some comfort to investors that have grown anxious about the rate-hike path of the central bank as signs of slack in the global economy appeared to mount. n a moderated discussion at the American Economics Association meeting in Atlanta, Powell said: "We will be patient as we watch to see how the economy evolves." Markets were already on an upswing after an official read of employment showed that a better-than-expected 312,000 jobs were created in December. Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.