The S&P 500 on Wall Street saw its second straight record close on Thursday, helped by gains in tech-related stocks as weaker-than-expected jobless claims data bolstered the Federal Reserve’s stance to keep interest rates lower for a longer period.
The U.S. job market remains challenging after the government reported that initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose last week.
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose +2.2% to 744,000 last week, signalling that many employers are still cutting jobs even as more people are vaccinated against COVID-19.
At the finishing bell, on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial rose +57.31 points, or +0.17%, to 33,446.26.
The broad-based Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose +17.22 points, or +0.42%, to 4,097.17, its 19th record close of 2021.
Meanwhile, the rich-tech Nasdaq Composite surged +140.47 points, or +1.03%, to 13,829.31.
The gains have also sent the tech-heavy Nasdaq to a seven-week high and within +2% of its February 12 record closing high.
Tesla Inc gained +2.02% on the Joe Biden administration’s $174 billion proposals to boost electric vehicles.
The recent pullback in yields has helped high growth names such as those in the technology sector, the best performing sector on the day, while mega-cap stocks such as Apple, Microsoft and Amazon were the biggest boosts to the S&P 500.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell signalled on Wednesday the central bank is nowhere near to reducing its support for the U.S. economy, noting that an expected rise in prices this year is likely to be temporary.
The softer data helped yields on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note fall as low as 1.628% for a second straight day as it continues to back away from a 14-month high of 1.776% hit in late March.