U.S. stocks eked out modest gains on Wall Street on Thursday, extending the market’s bullish streak into the third consecutive day and keeping all three major U.S. indexes on course to close out the week with gains.
At the finishing bell, on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial rose +25.35 points, or +0.07%, to 34,823.35.
The broad-based Standard & Poor’s 500 Index finished the session +8.79 points higher, or +0.20%, to end at 4,367.48.
The technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index advanced +52.6 points, or +0.36%, to 14,684.60.
All three indexes remain close to the all-time highs they set early last week after dropping sharply on Monday on fears that the spread of the COVID Delta variant could force countries to lock down their economies again.
U.S. banks, energy companies and industrial stocks weighed on the U.S. benchmark index, though solid gains by Apple and other big technology stocks helped nudge the index up.
Microsoft rose +1.6% after Citi raised its price target, saying the tech giant has the potential to beat Wall Street expectations when it reports quarterly earnings next week.
Citi predicted the stock would rise more than +30% over the next year.
Drugmaker Biogen Inc gained +1.1% after hiking its full-year revenue guidance, while Domino’s Pizza jumped +15%, to an all-time high, after reporting earnings that beat estimates and disclosing a new share-repurchase program.
Chipmaker Intel Corp slipped more than -1% in extended trading after the chipmaker posted results and raised its annual revenue forecast.
Southwest Airlines Co posted a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss, sending its stock down -3.5%, and American Airlines Group Inc dipped -1.1% even after reporting a quarterly profit.
The S&P 1500 Airlines index ended the session off -1.7%.
Trading was mostly muted as investors reviewed the latest corporate earnings and a surprise increase in the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits.
The U.S. Labor Department reported that unemployment claims rose last week to 419,000, the most in two months and more than economists expected, after missing the 350,000 forecasts, with the previous weekly release at 368,000.
The 10-year Treasury note traded at a yield of 1.26% on Thursday, down from 1.28% the day before.
Although the benchmark yield has recovered from its low yields earlier in the week, it continues to trade at relatively low levels, given that the economy is in a recovery.
Market participants are closely watching Labor market indicators for hints as to when the Federal Reserve, expected to convene next week for its two-day monetary policy meeting, will begin discussions about hiking key interest rates from near zero.
Also, major technology companies, including Microsoft, Google-parent Alphabet, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, report their second-quarter earnings next week.