U.S. stock markets closed higher on Thursday, registering gains for the third successive session, the longest streak in more than a month. It seems that investors are more confident now that the ongoing conflict between United States and China will not escalate into a trade war and are focusing on first quarter results, which will flood the market from next week.,. Notably, yesterday was the first day on NYSE since March 2013 when new 52-week highs outnumbered 52-week lows.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) closed at 24,505.22, gaining 1% or 240.92 points. The S&P 500 Index (INX) increased 0.7% to close at 2,662.84. The Nasdaq Composite Index (IXIC) closed 7,076.55, increasing 0.5%. Advancers outnumbered declining issues on the NYSE by 2.85-to-1 ratio. On the Nasdaq, declining issues had an edge over advancers by 1.80-to-1 ratio. The CBOE VIX declined 5.6% and closed at 18.94, falling to its lowest level in more than two weeks. A total of 6.4 billion shares were traded on Thursday, lower than the last 20-session average of 7.3 billion shares.
How Did the Benchmarks Perform?
The Dow gained 1% with 25 of its 30 components closing in the green. The blue-chip index recorded its first three session winning streak since the three-day session ended on Feb. 26.
The S&P 500 increased 0.7% led by 1.9% gain of the Materials Select Sector SPDR (XLB) and 1.8% gain of the Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE). The benchmark index closed comfortably above its 200-day moving average for the third straight session, indicating a positive long-term momentum. Ten out of the 11 sectors of S&P 500 ended in positive territory.
The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite also gained 0.5% driven by continued rebound in big tech stocks partially offset by weakness in chip manufacturers.
Trade War Fear Eases
Receding trade war fears have started to benefit the markets. Both United States and China have shown their intent to negotiate on tariffs. Reportedly, it could take next three to six months for a solution to come about. Moreover, investors are also speculating that firmness of the U.S. economy is sufficient to survive a full-blown trade-war if it breaks out.
As the anxiety over trade conflicts lessen, the Wall Street is emphasizing more on the first quarter earnings which will hit the market from the coming week. First quarter 2018 earnings results will be the first full quarter results which will include the impact of massive tax haul by the government. Markets have great expectations from first quarter financial numbers.
Tech Sector Rebound Continues
Yesterday’s broad-based market movement was primarily led by the continuation of tech sector turnaround over three straight sessions. FANG stocks, in particular, recorded impressive gains. Facebook Inc. (FB - Free Report) gained 2.7% after CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed the company has not witnessed any major changes in its user behavior after the Cambridge Analytica data controversy. Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN - Free Report) , Netflix Inc. (NFLX - Free Report) and Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL - Free Report) gained 2.9%, 1.7% and 0.3%, respectively. Amazon currently carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can seethe complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
The U.S. Commerce Department reported that U.S. jobless claims jumped by 24,000 to 242,000 during the seven days ended Mar 31. The consensus estimate was 228,000.
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