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Stocks end week with biggest gains since 2020

The Fearless Girl Statue faces the entrance to the NYSE after the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street in New York City on Feb. 18. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/a7f3e80988d58e61d83fe918846bc2b8/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
The Fearless Girl Statue faces the entrance to the NYSE after the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street in New York City on Feb. 18. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

March 18 (UPI) -- The three major stock market indexes in the United States ended the week Friday with the biggest gains since November 2020.

The Nasdaq closed 279.06 points higher on Friday, ending the day 2.05% higher for a weekly gain of 8.2%. The S&P 500 finished the day up 51.45 points, an increase of 1.17% from Thursday and ending the week with a gain of about 6.1%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average grew 5.5% through the week.

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The stock market gains came despite Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which led to weekslong drops across all three major U.S. indexes and in worldwide stock markets, and an increase in the price of commodities like oil.

The gains may show a sign of confidence in the Federal Reserve's decision to raise interest rates for the first time since 2018.

RELATED Dow rises 518 points after Federal Reserve announces interest rate hike

"After some initial indigestion, stocks soared as the Fed lifted off with its first rate hike since 2018 and Russia made moves to avoid defaulting on its debt payments," Madison Faller, a global market strategist for J.P. Morgan wrote in a blog post Friday.

"The upward march comes as the Fed solidified its more aggressive stance at this week's meeting -- it now plans to hike rates quickly and consecutively until something (such as a growth threat that derails demand) tells it not to. With inflation soaring and a strong labor market, economic conditions are inconsistent with still emergency-era levels of support."

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Faller noted that two-year Treasury yields have jumped 48 basis points this month and are on track for the largest monthly gain since 2008.

Globally, the Russian stock market remained closed while Stoxx Europe 600 is less than 1% off levels seen before the invasion of Ukraine. Japan's NIKKEI 225 index closed 0.65% higher Friday, while Germany's DAX index finished the day up 0.17%. London's FTSE 100 index also rose 0.26% on Friday.

RELATED S&P 500, Nasdaq post best gains since 2020 as oil prices recede

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