After moving notably higher early in the session, stocks have seen further upside over the course of the trading day on Thursday. With the strong upward move, the Dow and the S&P 500 have both reached new record intraday highs.
Currently, the major averages are hovering near their best levels of the day, with the Nasdaq posting a particularly strong gain. While the Nasdaq is up 346.73 points or 2.7 percent at 13,415.56, the Dow is up 352.38 points or 1.1 percent at 32,649.40 and the S&P 500 is up 58.57 points or 1.5 percent at 3,957.38.
Technology stocks have helped lead the rally amid continued bargain hunting, which led to the tech-heavy Nasdaq’s biggest single-day gain since last November on Tuesday.
Prior to the spike seen on Tuesday, the Nasdaq had entered correction territory, tumbling by more than 10 percent from the record high set last month.
The markets are also benefiting from optimism about the impact of more fiscal stimulus after the House passed a $1.9 trillion relief package on Wednesday. President Joe Biden is expected to sign the bill in the coming days.
Buying interest may also have been generated in reaction to a report from the Labor Department showing first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell to a four-month low in the week ended March 6th.
The Labor Department said initial jobless claims dropped to 712,000, a decrease of 42,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 754,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 725,000 from the 745,000 originally reported for the previous week.
With the bigger than expected decrease, jobless claims fell to their lowest level since hitting 711,000 in the week ended November 7th.
The data adds to the positive picture of the labor market painted by last week’s much better than expected monthly jobs report.
While the report also led to a rebound by treasury yields, traders seem placated by the relative stability in the bond markets over the past few sessions.
Semiconductor stocks have shown a substantial move to the upside on the day, extending the volatility seen over the past several days.
After slumping by 1.8 percent in the previous session, the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index has surged up by 4.2 percent.
Networking, software and computer hardware stocks are also seeing considerable strength, contributing to the jump by tech-heavy Nasdaq.
Outside of the tech sector, significant strength is also visible among steel stocks, as reflected by the 3.3 percent spike by the NYSE Arca Steel Index. The index has reached its best intraday level in nine years.
Retail, commercial real estate and oil stocks are also seeing notable strength in mid-day trading, moving higher along with most of the other major sectors.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index climbed by 0.6 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index spiked by 2.4 percent.
The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.7 percent, the German DAX Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index both rose by 0.2 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries are seeing modest weakness after turning lower early in the session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 1.5 basis points at 1.535 percent.
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