Benchmarks closed in the positive territory on Thursday as tech stocks recovered some of the recent losses along with reports of a new stimulus bill in the making by House Democrats. Investors also weighed an array of economic data.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) rose 52.31 points, or 0.2%, to close at 26,815.44 and the S&P 500 edged up 9.67 points, or 0.3%, to close at 3,246.59. The Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 10,672.27, adding 39.28 points, or 0.4%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) decreased 0.2%, to close at 28.51. Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones for 1.08-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.36-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq favored decliners.
How Did the Benchmarks Perform?
Thursday’s modest gain was led by tech stocks. Shares of Apple Inc. AAPL and Microsoft Corporation MSFT closed at least 1% higher, while Alphabet Inc. GOOGL and Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN edged up nearly 1% and 0.7% for the session. Overall, the S&P 500 technology sector rose 0.6% on Sep 24.
Of the 11 major sectors of the S&P 500 only the health sector closed in the negative territory. Among the gainers on Thursday were the utilities, consumer staples and materials sectors that closed 1.2%, 0.8% and 0.7% higher.
The blue-chip Dow was boosted by a 4.8% rise in The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.’s GS shares and Illumina, Inc. ILMN and Lam Research Corporation LRCX emerged as top gainers of the Nasdaq rising 4.9% and 3.2%, respectively.
Lam Research Corp carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
On Thursday, the S&P 500 posted no new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq Composite recorded 12 new highs and 129 new lows.
Lawmakers Prepare to Restart Stimulus Negotiations
Lawmakers continue to make fresh attempts to boost US households, businesses and cities after the $500 billion package proposed by the Senate Republicans earlier this month ended in a stalemate. Multiple reports on Thursday highlighted that the Democratic lawmakers have begun to prepare a new $2.4 trillion coronavirus aid package in a bid to restart negotiations. Though the new bill is $1 trillion less than previous proposed stimulus, the news provided a boosted to the markets and helped them close in the green.
The Democrats plan to put the scaled-back package on vote next week, detail plans have not been written down yet. The stimulus package now stands essential for the economy to rebound as weekly jobless claims report showed that job gains may be stalling even as the pandemic cools off. This is raising fears about the shape of the U.S. economic recovery.
Weekly Jobless Claims Rise Unexpectedly
On Thursday, the Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims for the week ending Sep 19 came in at 870,000, higher than the consensus estimate of 836,000. The number of first-time filers for unemployment benefits rose last week compared to a revised figure of 866,000. Per the report, the biggest week-over-week increase in initial claims were recorded in New York and Georgia. In the last week, New York witnessed more than 9,000 first-time fillers while Georgia recorded more than 6,000 initial claims.
Continuing claims that take account of jobless benefits receiver for at least two straight weeks has decreased by 167,000 to 12.58 million during the week ending Sep 12. Reports for continuing claims data is delayed by one week.
New Home Sales Jump to a nearly 14 Years High
Per the Commerce Department’s report on Thursday, new single-family home sales rose to 1.011 million in August above the consensus estimate of 890,000. The figures also indicate a 4.8% increase from a revised figure of 965,000 new home sales in July. August’s jump now puts new home sales to the highest level in nearly 14 years and indicate that the housing market has continued to gain momentum despite the economy’s struggle to recover from the COVID-19 recession.
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Click to get this free report Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) : Free Stock Analysis Report Illumina, Inc. (ILMN) : Free Stock Analysis Report Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) : Free Stock Analysis Report The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS) : Free Stock Analysis Report Apple Inc. (AAPL) : Free Stock Analysis Report Lam Research Corporation (LRCX) : Free Stock Analysis Report Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) : Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here.