With technology stocks turning in a strong performance, the Nasdaq has shown a substantial move to the upside during trading on Thursday. The tech-heavy index is extending the surge seen late in the previous session, reaching its best intraday level since last September.
Currently, the Nasdaq is hovering near its best levels of the day, up 375.01 points or 3.2 percent at 12,191.33. The S&P 500 is also up 59.24 points or 1.4 percent at 4,178.45 after reaching a five-month intraday high.
Meanwhile, the narrower Dow remains in negative territory, with the blue chip index down 112.89 points or 0.3 percent at 33,980.07.
The surge by the Nasdaq comes as Meta Platforms (META) is leading a tech sector rally, with the Facebook parent skyrocketing by 26.8 percent.
The spike by Meta comes after the company reported better than expected fourth quarter revenues and announced a $40 billion stock buyback.
Stocks also continue to benefit from a positive reaction to the Federal Reserve’s interest rate announcement on Wednesday, with traders expressing optimism the Fed is nearing the end of its rate hiking cycle.
At the same time, the Dow is bucking the uptrend due partly to a notable decline by shares of Merck (MRK), which are down by 4.6percent after the drug giant provided disappointing guidance.
Traders are also looking ahead to the release of the Labor Department’s closely watched monthly jobs report on Friday.
A day ahead of the monthly report, the Labor Department released a report unexpectedly showing another modest decrease by first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended January 28th.
The report said initial jobless claims edged down to 183,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 186,000. The dip surprised economists, who had expected jobless claims to climb to 200,000.
With the unexpected decrease, jobless claims fell to their lowest level since hitting 181,000 in the week ended April 23, 2022.
A separate report released by the Labor Department showed U.S. labor productivity surged by more than expected in the fourth quarter of 2022.
Airline stocks continue to see substantial strength in afternoon trading, with the NYSE Arca Airline Index soaring by 6.3 percent to a nearly eight-month intraday high.
Considerable strength also remains visible among software stocks, as reflected by the 3.4 percent spike by the Dow Jones U.S. Software Index. The index has reached its best intraday level in well over four months.
Housing stocks are also seeing significant strength on the day, driving the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index up by 3.2 percent to a one-year intraday high.
Retail, computer hardware and commercial real estate stocks have also moved sharply higher, while energy, gold and pharmaceutical stocks are seeing notable weakness.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index edged up by 0.2 percent, while South Korea’s Kospi climbed by 0.7 percent.
The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index surged by 2.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index jumped by 1.3 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index advanced by 0.8 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries have pulled back well off their highs but continue to see modest strength. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 1.2 basis points at 3.385 percent.
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