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Stock Market News for Aug 13, 2021

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U.S. stock markets closed higher on Thursday with the Dow and the S&P 500 notching fresh record highs, led by gains in heavyweight technology shares. The confidence of market participants was also boosted after the initial jobless claims for the week ended Aug 7 came in better than expected while continuing claims also witnessed the lowest levels since Mar 14, 2020. All the three major stock indexes closed the day in green.

How Did The Benchmarks Perform?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) rose 14.88 points, closing at 35,499.85, closing at a new record high for the third successive session. Notably, 16 components of the 30-stock index ended in green while 14 finished the day in red.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite closed the day at 14,816.26, up 0.4%, snapping its two-day losing streak, on the back of strong performance by large-cap technology stocks. The S&P 500 rose 0.3%, closing the day at 4,460.83, notching another record closing high for the third consecutive day. The Health Care Select Sector SPDR (XLV) and the Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) gained 0.8% and 0.6%, respectively. Seven out of eleven sectors of the benchmark index closed in the positive zone while four closed in the red.

The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) was down 2.9% to 15.59. A total of 8.31 billion shares were traded on Thursday, lower than the last 20-session average of 9.55 billion. Decliners outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by a 1.18-to-1 ratio. On Nasdaq, a 1.34-to-1 ratio favored declining issues.

Technology Shares Made a Comeback on Thursday

Wall Street moved higher again on Thursday with the Dow and the S&P 500 notching fresh record highs for the third day in a row, and the Nasdaq Composite also making a comeback as investors bought shares of heavyweight technology companies. In fact, technology emerged as one of the best performing sectors of the S&P 500 in Thursday’s session, marking a reversal in trend from recent sessions where market participants were favoring economically sensitive stocks.

Consequently, shares of high-flying technology growth companies like Apple Inc. (AAPL - Free Report) , Adobe Inc. (ADBE - Free Report) and NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA - Free Report) gained 2.1%, 1.3% and 1.1%, respectively. Apple carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Economic Data

The confidence of market participants was also boosted in Thursday’s session after the U.S. Department of Labor reported that initial jobless claims decreased by 12,000 to 375,000 for the week-ended Aug 7. The consensus estimate was 376,000 and the previous week’s data was revised upward by 2,000 to 387,000 from 385,000 reported earlier.

Continuing claims (people who are already receiving benefits) decreased by 114,000 to 2,866,000 for the week-ended Jul 31 from the prior week’s revised level. Investors also took note of the fact that this marked the lowest level for continuing claims since Mar 14, 2020 when it was reported at 1,770,000. The previous week’s level was revised upward by 50,000 to 2,980,000 from 2,930,000 reported earlier.

The four-week moving average for continuing claims decreased by 99,750 to 3,101,000. This also marked the lowest level for the average since Mar 21, 2020 when it was reported at 2,071,750. The prior week’s average was revised upward by 12,500 to 3,200,750 from 3,188,250 reported earlier.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the Producer Price Index (PPI) for final demand rose 1% in July, surpassing the consensus estimate of a rise of 0.6%, and compared to the June reading of 1% rise.

The core PPI, which excludes food and energy, also rose 1% in July, surpassing the consensus estimate of a rise of 0.5%, and also compared to a rise of 1% in June.

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