(Reuters) – The blue-chip Dow index hit an all-time high for the fourth straight session on Thursday as worries about rising inflation eased, while a bigger-than-expected fall in weekly jobless claims reinforced expectations of a labor market recovery.
Fewer than expected Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week as an improving public health environment allows more segments of the economy to reopen.
“The drop in jobless claims is another win for the week, and a solid sign that we’re making some strides toward pre-pandemic life,” said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E*TRADE Financial.
The Dow on Wednesday logged a record closing high for the first time in two weeks as tepid inflation numbers allayed fears that the economy is running too hot while a sweeping $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill received a final nod from Congress.
Financial and industrials dipped on Thursday after outperforming other major S&P sectors this year as they are seen benefitting from a reopening economy. Tech and consumer discretionary, the two stay-at-home beneficiaries which had recently taken a beating, jumped 1.2% and 1.4%.
“There is a clear rotation into value stocks over growth,” said Julius de Kempenaer, senior technical analyst at StockCharts.com in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
“It will be interesting to see whether these value sectors are able to hold up the uptrend in the S&P 500.”
At 10:00 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 214.88 points, or 0.67%, to 32,511.90, the S&P 500 gained 36.20 points, or 0.93%, to 3,935.01 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 231.40 points, or 1.77%, to 13,300.24.
The benchmark Treasury yields were at 1.53% ahead of an auction of U.S. 30-year debt later in the day. A weak seven-year auction in late February fuelled inflation concerns and sent yields higher.
Mega-cap stocks Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, Facebook Inc and Tesla Inc gained between 1.4% and 2.3% and were among the biggest boosts to the S&P 500, which was less than 15 points below its Feb. 16 all-time high of 3,950.43.
The Nasdaq is now about 6% below its Feb. 12 record close after falling as much as 12% last week.
Bumble Inc jumped about 10.7% after it reported a bigger-than-estimated rise in fourth-quarter revenue and said it expected pent-up demand from people who had been avoiding dating in person due to the pandemic.
A so-called “meme” stock AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc gained 6.6% as the cinema chain said the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines and the release of major movies would boost sales this year.
Oracle Corp slumped 9% as the business software maker’s cloud division reported quarterly revenue that missed analysts’ estimates on increased competition from Amazon.com Inc and Microsoft Corp.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.9-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 3.1-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P 500 posted 39 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 234 new highs and seven new lows.
Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel
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