Par Stephen Culp
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The group hit its sixth consecutive closing record on Thursday, as a new quarter and second half of the year started with bullish economic data and a widespread rally.
Investors are now watching Friday’s highly anticipated jobs report.
The Bellwether Index is enjoying its longest winning streak since early February, and the last time it recorded six consecutive all-time highs was last August.
“Historical data shows that if you have a strong first half, the second half was actually even stronger,” said Ross Mayfield, investment strategy analyst at Baird Private Wealth.
The three major US stock indexes ended the session in positive territory, but a decline in tech stocks – led by microchips – tempered the Nasdaq’s gain.
The 1.5% slip
“For the markets so far this year, boredom is fine,” said David Carter, chief investment officer at Lenox Wealth Advisors in New York City. “Economic growth has been strong enough to support prices and many asset classes are trading with historically low volatility. ”
“Looks like investors left for the July 4th weekend about three months ago. “
The continuing shortage of workers, attributed to federal emergency unemployment benefits, a shortage of child care services and lingering fears of a pandemic, was a common theme in today’s economic data.
Unemployment claims continued their downward trajectory according to the Labor Department, hitting their lowest level since the pandemic closed, and a report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas showed that expected layoffs by U.S. companies were down by 88% from last year, hitting a 21-year low.
According to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) purchasing managers index (PMI), activity at US factories slowed slightly in June, with the employment component plunging into contraction for the first time since November. The price paid index, pushed up by the current imbalance between supply and demand, reached its highest level since 1979, according to the ISM.
“The employment and manufacturing data released today supports the idea of continued growth but at a decelerating rate,” Carter added.
Friday’s eagerly awaited employment report is expected to show a payroll increase of 700,000 and unemployment down to 5.7%. A strong bullish surprise could lead the US Federal Reserve to adjust its schedule for reducing its purchases of securities and raising key interest rates.
“Overly strong economic data could be a bad thing for markets if it causes the Fed to raise rates faster than expected,” Carter said. “Poor employment data can actually be welcome. “
The S&P 500 gained 131.02 points, or 0.38%, to 34,633.53, the S&P 500 gained 22.44 points, or 0.52%, to 4,319.94 and added 18.42 points , or 0.13%, at 14,522.38.
Of the top 11 sectors in the S&P 500, Consumer Staples was the only loser, losing 0.3%.
Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ 🙂 Inc fell 7.4% after saying it planned to administer fewer COVID-19 vaccines in the fourth quarter.
Didi Global Inc jumped 16.0%, on its second day of listing as a listed company in the United States.
Micron Technology Inc (NASDAQ 🙂 fell 5.7% following a report that Texas Instruments (NASDAQ 🙂 would buy Micron’s plant in Lehi, Utah, for $ 900 million.
The advancing issues outnumbered the declining ones on the NYSE by a ratio of 1.78 to 1; on the Nasdaq, a ratio of 1.32 to 1 favored the advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 36 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 78 new highs and 30 new lows.
Volume on the US stock exchanges was 9.53 billion shares, compared to an average of 10.9 billion over the last 20 trading days.