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Benchmarks ended in positive territory on for the fifth straight trading day on Thursday, with both the Dow and S&P 500 posting their best such feat since December 2011. Both the two indexes are now up over 4% for the year and are on the way to post their biggest weekly increases since November 2016. Additionally, the Nasdaq has increased more than 5% for the year. The tech-heavy index is also on the verge of registering its best weekly performance since 2011.

How the Benchmarks Fared?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) increased 1.2%, or 307.36 points, to close at 25,200.37. The S&P 500 rose 1.2% to close at 2,731.20. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 7,256.43, gaining 1.6%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) decreased 3.2% to close at 18.65. A total of 7.12 billion shares were traded on Thursday, lower than the last 20-session average of 8.46 billion shares. Advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 2.27-to-1 ratio. On Nasdaq, a 2.25-to-1 ratio favored advancing issues.

Markets Recover for Fifth Straight Day

All the key U.S. indexes rebounded and increased for the fifth consecutive trading day after entering correction territory last week. Although, the movement lacked specific catalysts, part of the day’s gains were fueled by strong earnings and a resilient U.S. economy. For the S&P 500, 10 of the 11 key sectors increased on Thursday, with utilities and technology stocks leading the way.

On the earnings front, shares of Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO - Free Report) advanced 4.7% after reporting fiscal second quarter earnings per share and revenues that beat their respective Zacks Consensus Estimate. Additionally, the company’s top line registered its first year-over-year rise in around two years.  (Read More)

Additionally, Apple Inc’s (AAPL - Free Report) shares surged 3.4% after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B - Free Report) increased its stake in Apple by more than 23% during the fourth quarter. Berkshire Hathaway raised the stake in the tech giant from 134.09 million in third quarter to 165.33 million in fourth quarter. Applehas a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Gains in Apple and Cisco led the Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) to advance 1.9%, becoming the second biggest gainer among the key S&P 500 sectors. Along with Apple other FAAMG stocks, Facebook, Inc. (FB - Free Report) ,, Inc. (AMZN - Free Report) , Microsoft Corporation (MSFT - Free Report) and Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL - Free Report) increased 0.3%, 0.7%, 2% and 1.7%, respectively.

Further, the Utilities Select Sector SPDR (XLU) climbed 2.2% and was the best performing S&P 500 sector. Some of its key holdings, including NextEra Energy, Inc. (NEE - Free Report) and Exelon Corporation (EXC - Free Report) rose 2.9% and 2.5%, respectively.

Economic Data In Focus

In economic news, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that initial claims advanced by 7,000 to a level of 230,000 for the week ending Feb 10. Although, initial claims increased, it still remains below the level of 300,000, implying a tighter labor market.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Producer Price Index (PPI) rose 0.4% last month, after remaining unchanged in December. PPI registered year-over-year increase of 2.7% in January. Also, core-PPI increased 0.4% in January, better than December’s rise of 0.2%. Core-PPI advanced 2.5% year-over-year in January, registering its best rise since August 2014.

Moreover, industrial production decreased by 0.1% in January. Also, capacity utilization declined from 77.7% in December to 77.5% in January. Domestic factory output clearly remained flat for second consecutive month.

Stocks That Made Headline

Smucker Q3 Earnings Rise Y/Y, View Up on Tax Reforms

The J. M. Smucker Company (SJM - Free Report) reported third-quarter fiscal 2018 results, wherein the company crushed its three-quarter long trend of posting year-over-year decline in earnings. (Read More)

Marriott Q4 Earnings and Revenues Surpass Estimates

Marriott International, Inc. (MAR - Free Report) reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter 2017 results. (Read More)

Wall Street’s Next Amazon

Zacks EVP Kevin Matras believes this familiar stock has only just begun its climb to become one of the greatest investments of all time. It’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in pure genius.

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