US Stocks Close Higher Thursday 05/06 16:08
A choppy day of trading on Wall Street ended Thursday with stocks broadly
higher and another all-time high for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
(AP) -- A choppy day of trading on Wall Street ended Thursday with stocks
broadly higher and another all-time high for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Banks and technology companies led a late-afternoon turnaround that pushed
the S&P 500 to a 0.8% gain, reversing the benchmark index's losses for the
week. Gains in most Dow companies, including Goldman Sachs, IBM and Cisco
Systems, nudged the blue-chip index to a new high for the second straight day.
Apple, Microsoft and Intel were among the winners, contributing to the rally
in tech stocks. That helped the S&P 500's technology sector break a seven-day
losing streak, which reversed an early slide in the Nasdaq.
The stock indexes wavered earlier in the day, weighed down by a sell-off in
health care stocks. Drugmakers Moderna and Pfizer closed lower following news
late Wednesday that the White House supports waiving intellectual property
rights for COVID0-19 vaccines to speed up immunizations in poorer countries.
Investors continued to weigh the latest corporate earnings reports while
looking ahead to a key jobs report due out Friday.
"We're getting to the end of earnings season and numbers are coming in
typically ahead of expectations," said Tom Hainlin, national investment
strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. "The outlook for the year looks like
it's OK. That's the basis for an upward-trending market."
The S&P 500 bounced back from an early slide, adding 34.03 points to
4,201.62. The index is on track for its eighth weekly gain in the past 10
weeks. The Dow rose 318.19 points, or 0.9%, to 34,548.19. The Nasdaq Composite
climbed 50.42 points, or 0.4%, to 13,632.84. The tech-heavy index had been down
1.1% in the early going.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies also recovered from a stumble to
an essentially flat finish, adding 0.05 points, or less than 0.1%, to 2,241.42.
Bond yields were mixed, with the 10-year Treasury note trading at a yield of
1.57%, down from 1.58% late Wednesday.
Some healthcare stocks fell after news late Wednesday that the White House
supports waiving intellectual property rights for coronavirus vaccines to help
immunize poorer countries faster. That slide was countered by gains in
household goods makers, banks and communication companies.
Moderna lost 1.4% after the company reported its first-ever quarterly
profit, helped by the company's coronavirus vaccine. The drop was largely tied
to the news from the White House, as shares of other drug companies fell,
including Pfizer, which dropped 1%.
Shares of Johnson & Johnson were not hurt by the news, partly because J&J
has other businesses like Band-Aids, the pain reliever Tylenol and its baby
products franchise. The stock inched up 0.4%
Stocks have mostly pushed higher on expectations of an economic recovery and
strong profits this year. Massive support from the U.S. government and the
Federal Reserve, and increasingly positive economic data, have also encouraged
investors to push stock prices to all-time highs, despite an undercurrent of
worry about inflation and the potential for higher interest rates later this
This week, the focus is on the health of the labor market, with the
government due to report April hiring data Friday. Job growth has been one of
the keys to a sustained economic rebound, but it has lagged other areas of the
economy such as retail sales and consumer confidence.
"Continued job gains through the year are going to be important to continue
to move things ahead," said James Ragan, director of wealth management research
at D.A. Davidson.
Economists expect the April jobs data to show employers hired 975,000
workers last month as the economy accelerated out of the pandemic and vaccines
rolled out nationwide. The unemployment rate is expected to drop to 5.8% from
There have already been signs that the labor market is improving. The Labor
Department said Thursday that the number of Americans who filed for
unemployment benefits last week fell to a pandemic low of 498,000. The payroll
processing company ADP said Wednesday that private employers hired 742,000
workers last month.
On Thursday, traders sized up the latest batch of corporate earnings.
Investors bid up shares in Wayfair, Kellogg and Papa John's International after
they reported results that topped Wall Street's forecasts.
More earnings are on deck Friday from Cigna, Equifax and insurance giant
AIG. Of the S&P 500 companies reporting so far, 84% topped analysts'
expectations, according to FactSet.