Panic-like buying in the stock market took hold as Dow surged about 750 points on Friday

A more than 750-point gain in the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +3.29% and a surge in the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +4.26% Friday 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 ended the session up 746.94 points, or 3.3%, at 23,433.16 Meanwhile, the S&P 500 index SPX, +3.43% rose 3.4% at 2,531.94, while the Nasdaq was climbed 4.3% at 6,738.86. Those gains saw the NYSE Arms end at 0.432, while the Nasdaq Arms hit 0.447. The number of advancing stocks outnumbered decliners by a ratio of about 10 to 1 on the NYSE, with volume in advancing stocks about 95% 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.

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