U.S. stocks ended a volatile week higher on Friday, a week that saw the Federal Reserve raise rates another 25 basis points and risks in the U.S. and European banking sectors remain in key focus. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA rose about 132 points, or 0.4%, ending near 32,238, Friday, boosting its weekly gain to 1.2%, according to preliminary FactSet data. The S&P 500 index SPX climbed 0.6% Friday and 1.4% for the week, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP closed up 0.3% for a 1.7% weekly gain. Investors have been concerned about a potential credit crunch and its likely toll on the economy, after the failure earlier in March of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on Wednesday said he expected credit conditions to tightening further, doing some of the central bank’s work for it, in terms of bringing down inflation. One worry is that high rates and tighter credit could lead to a wave of defaults. Goldman Sachs this week raised its default forecast for the U.S. high-yield, or junk-bond, market to 4% from 2.8% for 2023. The junk-bond market is considered an earlier harbinger of potential stress in credit markets since it finances companies already considered at an elevated risk of buckling. European banks also were in focus, including on Friday as shares of Deutsche Bank DB came under pressure after costs of insuring it against a credit default jumped. Still, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq posted back-to-back weekly gains, according to Dow Jones Market Data. Before Friday, the Dow had two weekly declines in a row.
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