The S&P 500 hit a record high for the fourth straight session on Tuesday, helped by shares of heavyweight technology firms and banks, while an upbeat consumer confidence report set a positive tone for key jobs data at the end of the week.
U.S. consumer confidence increased in June to its highest level since the COVID-19 pandemic started more than a year ago, bolstering expectations for strong economic growth in the second quarter. Market participants are closely watching the nonfarm payroll report on Friday, that could pave way for the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy stance which hinges on an equitable recovery of the labor market.
“The economy is booming, the stock market is climbing so it makes perfect sense to me that consumer confidence numbers are through the roof,” said Mike Zigmont, head of trading and research at Harvest Volatility Management in New York. “If there’s a strong nonfarm payrolls number this month and we start making progress on the unemployment rate, that changes the whole Fed narrative.”
Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors rose, with technology , energy and industrials among the top gainers. Morgan Stanley jumped 4.1% after it doubled its dividend to 70 cents per share in the third quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corp and Goldman Sachs Group also raised their payouts.
All the three major Wall Street indexes are set for their fifth straight quarter of gains, boosted by ultra-loose monetary policy, a rebounding U.S. economy and robust corporate earnings. With the S&P 500 climbing nearly 14% in the first half of the year, focus will shift to the second-quarter earnings season, beginning in July, which could decide the path for the next leg of the equity markets.
At 11:57 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 83.22 points, or 0.24%, at 34,366.49 and the S&P 500 was up 5.03 points, or 0.12%, at 4,295.64. The Nasdaq Composite was down 2.04 points, or 0.01%, at 14,498.47 after hitting an all-time high for the sixth consecutive session. Moderna Inc jumped 5.43% to a record high after the drugmaker’s COVID-19 vaccine showed promise against the Delta variant first identified in India in a lab study, with a modest decrease in response compared to the original strain.
Facebook Inc dipped a day after crossing $1 trillion in market value and joining the likes of Apple, Microsoft, Saudi Aramco, Amazon and Google-owner Alphabet that together now make up 10% of world equities. Textron rose 1.5% after Morgan Stanley upgraded the business jet maker’s stock to “overweight” from “equal weight on hopes of a stronger recovery.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.25-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.25-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq. The S&P index recorded 33 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 76 new highs and 25 new lows.
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