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Stock Market News for Nov 19, 2021

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U.S. stocks closed higher on Thursday after a choppy trading session that saw the S&P 500 and Nasdaq closing at record highs after robust results from some big retailers and chipmakers gave a boost to investors’ confidence. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq ended in positive territory, while the Dow closed lower.

How Did The Benchmarks Perform?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) declined 0.2% or 60.10 points to finish at 35,870.95 points.

The S&P 500 gained 0.3% or 15.87 points to end at 4,704.54 points. Consumer discretionary and technology stocks were the biggest gainers. The Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) added 1.1%, while the Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) gained 1%. However, eight of the 11 sectors of the benchmark index ended in negative territory.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq climbed 0.5% or 72.14 points to finish at 15,993.71 points. Shares of Apple, Inc. (AAPL - Free Report) gained 2.9%. Apple carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) was up 2.81% to 17.59. A total of 11.09 billion shares were traded on Thursday, lower than the last 20-session average of 11.14 billion.

Earnings Reports Boost Investors Sentiment

Stocks haven’t been making much movement over the past couple of days. On Wednesday, all the three indexes ended in the red on growing concerns over inflation. Thursday’s session too remained mostly choppy on concerns over further increases in prices pressures. Also, uncertainty over the Fed’s plans of tapering its monthly bond purchases has unsettled markets for the past few days.

However, despite these worries robust quarterly results from a batch of big-box retailers and chipmakers like NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA - Free Report) helped boost investors’ confidence. NVIDIA reported third-quarter fiscal 2021 earnings of $1.17 per share, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.11 per share.

However, the Dow was dragged down mainly due to a 5.5% decline in shares of Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO - Free Report) after the gear maker lowered its quarterly revenue below expectations citing supply chain shortages and delays.

Economic Data

Initial jobless claims hit a fresh post-pandemic era low of 268,000, a decline of 1,000 in the week ending Nov 13. However, it came in below expectations of a decline to 260,000. This is the lowest level since Mar 14, 2020.

The four-week moving average also fell to 272,750 a decline of 5,750 from the previous week’s revised average and the lowest since Mar 14 when it was 225,500.

Besides, continuing claims declined by 129,000 to 2,080,000, yet another pandemic-era low. The previous week's numbers were revised up by 49,000 from 2,160,000 to 2,209,000. The 4-week moving average came in at 2,157,250, a decline of 100,000 from the previous week's revised average.

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