The S&P 500 hit a new high and the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed Thursday, amid higher-than-expected jobless claims and Fed Chief Jerome Powell’s comments.
In the current stock market, the Nasdaq rallied 0.9%, the S&P 500 advanced 0.4% and the Dow Jones industrials edged 0.1% higher in the stock market today. Small caps tracked by the Russell 2000 rose 0.6%. Volume was mixed, higher on the NYSE but lower on the Nasdaq, vs. the same time Wednesday.
Early Thursday, the Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims rose to 744,000 the week ended April 3. That was higher than the prior week’s 728,000 claims and forecasts for a second straight decline to 680,000.
Key market indexes held steady as Powell stressed the importance of global Covid-19 vaccinations during an International Monetary Fund virtual debate on the global economy.
“Until the world really is vaccinated, we’re all going to be at risk of new mutations and we won’t be able to really resume activity with confidence all around the world,” Powell said.
He also reiterated the U.S. central bank’s stance on its asset purchase program, saying it will be looking at inflation and “the indicators of maximal employment.”
U.S. Stock Market Today Overview
Last Update: 2:56 PM ET 4/8/2021
Tech stocks boosted the Nasdaq composite to a 43.6% gain in 2020 for its fifth best year ever. The S&P 500 rose 16.3% and the Dow added 7.2% last year. After a strong start this year, the market is rebounding from a short correction. Read The Big Picture for detailed daily market analysis.
The Covid-19 pandemic has roiled the U.S. economy, as nationwide lockdowns pass the one-year mark. But many states are relaxing restrictions, and while cases are starting to plateau in some states, there are signs of hope as vaccinations roll out.
Cumulative Covid-19 cases worldwide are approaching 134 million, with more than 2.9 million deaths, according to Worldometer. In the U.S., cases have topped 31.6 million with nearly 573,000 deaths, although the number of new cases in the U.S. has slowed dramatically.
Dow Jones Winners And Losers
Apple gapped up and rose 1.5% to pad gains above its 50-day moving average, which it reclaimed Wednesday. It’s on track to extend a win streak to six. Due to the global chip shortage, the iPhone maker will delay some MacBook and iPad production, Japan’s Nikkei news service reported.
Microsoft stock gained 1.6% in morning trade Thursday. Shares broke out past a 246.23 buy point of a flat base on Monday, according to MarketSmith chart analysis. They remain in potential buy range, which tops out at 258.54. The software giant is an IBD Leaderboard and IBD Long-Term Leader stock.
Outside The Dow
Software, solar and automaker stocks led the upside among IBD’s 197 industry groups. But drugstore, steel, and oil and gas stocks lagged.
Security software maker Okta (OKTA) surged nearly 8% in heavy trade to rise well above its 200-day line. Shares remain 18% off their 52-week high after a recent slump. At its Wednesday investor day, Okta outlined plans to expand into new markets.
In the automaker group, Tesla (TSLA) held a 1.3% gain after rallying nearly 3% early Thursday. The electric vehicle maker’s stock is getting close to retaking its 10-week moving average after spending most of the past seven weeks below the line.
On Feb. 22, Tesla broke down below the support line. On Jan. 25, Tesla stock hit a record high at 900.40, after climbing as much as 93% from a 466 buy point of a cup with handle. Tesla last month said it would begin accepting Bitcoin as payment for its EVs.
The Innovator IBD 50 ETF (FFTY) climbed 0.9%, after falling 1.2% on Wednesday. The growth stock ETF is on pace for its sixth up day in the past seven sessions.
IBD 50 Winners
Square stock, up 5% in heavy trade, is building a new base with a 283.29 buy point. Shares are about 9% away from the entry. In October, the payment processor said it bought around $50 million in Bitcoin. Its Cash App allows users to buy and sell Bitcoin.
With Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies back in the news, the price of Bitcoin was up 3.3% to $58,058 in afternoon trade, according to CoinDesk. The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) rose 4% Thursday as it works on a new pattern with a 58.32 buy point.
Follow Nancy Gondo on Twitter at @IBD_NGondo
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