April 20, 2021

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S&P 500 Reaches New Record High As Tech Stocks Rally

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With technology stocks leading the advance, stocks have moved mostly higher over the course of the trading day on Wednesday. The upward move on the day has lifted the S&P 500 to a new record intraday high.

Currently, the Nasdaq is up 239.00 points or 1.8 percent at 13,284.40 and the S&P 500 is up 28.99 points or 0.7 percent at 3,987.54. The narrower Dow is posting a much more modest gain, up 27.07 points or 0.1 percent at 33,094.03.

The rally by technology stocks may be partly due to window dressing on the final day of the first quarter, as the tech-heavy Nasdaq has underperformed the Dow and the S&P 500.

For the quarter, the Dow and the S&P 500 ended Tuesday’s trading up by 8 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively, and recently set new record closing highs.

The Nasdaq is well off its record highs set in February and was up by just 1.2 percent for the quarter as of the close of the previous session.

A report from payroll processor ADP showing strong private sector job growth in the month of March has also generated some positive sentiment.

ADP said private sector employment surged up by 517,000 jobs in March after climbing by an upwardly revised 176,000 jobs in February.

Economists had expected employment to jump by 550,000 jobs compared to the addition of 117,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

The increase in private sector employment in March reflected the strongest job growth since the spike of 821,000 jobs seen last September.

On Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its more closely watched monthly jobs report, which includes both public and private sector jobs.

Economists currently expect employment to jump by 639,000 jobs in March after climbing by 379,000 jobs in February. The unemployment rate is expected to drop to 6.0 percent from 6.2 percent.

Meanwhile, traders are also reacting to the details of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure and economic recovery plan.

The plan calls for spending approximately $2 trillion over eight years, with the proposal including investments in transportation infrastructure and accelerating the transition to clean energy.

To pay for the plan, Biden has called for raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 21 percent, which is likely to face intense opposition from Republican lawmakers.

Sector News

Gold stocks have moved sharply higher over the course of the session, rebounding along with the price of the precious metal.

The NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index has surged up by 2.7 percent, as gold for June delivery is jumping $23.20 to $1,709.20 an ounce.

Software, semiconductor and biotechnology stocks also continue to see significant strength, contributing to the rally by the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

Retail and brokerage stocks have also shown notable moves to the upside on the day, while airline stocks are giving back ground.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index slumped by 0.9 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index slid by 0.4 percent.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index tumbled by 0.9 percent, the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.3 percent and the German DAX Index closed just below the unchanged line.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved modestly higher over the course of the session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 1.6 basis points at 1.710 percent.

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2021-03-31 12:18:30

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