© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Traders work, as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell comments on a screen, on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, US, March 16, 2022. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Devik Jain and Susan Mathew

(Reuters) – US stocks rose higher on Thursday after a sharp rally in the previous session as the Federal Reserve raised interest rates while investors closely followed peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.

Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors rose in early trading, with energy stocks rising 1.7% as oil prices hit $105 amid warnings of supply shortages due to a halt in Russian oil inventories. [O/R]

Financials fell the most after a strong rally in the previous session. The banking index lost 1.4%, weighed down by a 2.4% decline in Citigroup (NYSE:). The US Treasury yield curve flattened to a nearly two-year low as investors processed the Fed’s policy decision. [US/]

The index closed more than 2% on Wednesday, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose nearly 4% after the US central bank raised interest rates by 25 basis points as expected and forecast similar gains at every meeting this year.

“Right now, I would say, investors don’t view the Fed’s plan as a policy mistake. I think there was consensus. Every month, every meeting, investors will reevaluate. So if inflation starts to cool, investors will expects the Fed to reverse those rate hikes, expecting them to rely a little on data,” said Mike Bailey, research director at FBB Capital Partners in Bethesda, Maryland.

Signs of progress in negotiations to end what Russia calls “a special military operation” had helped global supplies this week, but the Kremlin said there was no deal yet.

At 10:13 a.m. ET, the S&P 500 was up 14.87 points or 0.04% to 34,077.97, the S&P 500 was up 9.74 points or 0.22% to 4,367.60 and up 44.88 points or 0 .33% to 13,481.43.

Meanwhile, data showed weekly jobless claims fell last week as labor demand remained strong, setting the economy poised for another month of solid job growth.

The CBOE volatility index, also known as the Wall Street fear meter, rose after closing Wednesday at its lowest level since Feb. 18.

Accenture (NYSE:) Plc rose 2.3% after the IT consulting firm forecast optimistic third-quarter earnings, though it warned of business impacts if the conflict between Russia and Ukraine escalates.

Ralph Lauren Corp (NYSE:) gained 2.5% after JP Morgan upgraded the affordable luxury apparel manufacturer’s stock from “neutral” to “overweight.”

The number of emerging issues outpaced the pastures by a ratio of 1.90 to 1 on the NYSE and a ratio of 2.08 to 1 on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 8 new highs in 52 weeks and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 24 new highs and 39 new lows.

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