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Stock market news live updates: S&P 500 sets fresh record high after jobless claims dip more than expected

·Reporter
·8 min read
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Stocks gained on Thursday to reach new record levels, adding to advances after the major indexes closed out a strong second quarter and first half of the year.

The S&P 500 set a fresh record intraday and closing high, and each of the Dow and Nasdaq also edged up. The blue-chip index gained 14.4% for the year to date through Wednesday's close, and ended June with a more than 2% gain for a fifth straight monthly rise. A batch of strong economic data helped propel equities higher, with private payrolls growing by a better-than-expected 692,000 in June and new jobless claims falling to a new pandemic-era low, with both prints pointing to a potentially strong print in the Labor Department's "official" June jobs report on Friday.

For the April through June quarter, the information technology, real estate and communication services sectors outperformed amid a broad-based rotation back into technology and growth stocks. The rotation coincided with lessened concerns over inflationary pressures, as investors considered signs that price increases would be only transitory in the early stages of the recovery. The cyclical energy and financial sectors, however, are still the best performers for the year-to-date.

"I still think energy and financials are a decent place to be," Shawn Snyder, Citi U.S. Wealth Management head of investment strategy, told Yahoo Finance. "And I think that even as we've seen the 10-year Treasury yield decline over the past three months as inflation expectations came down a bit, I still think odds are yields will move higher over time ... and those sectors that are sensitive to interest rates, which are energy and financials, I still think make sense."

"What we're looking at is moving a little bit away from the U.S. and more towards areas that haven't recovered fully," he added, noting as an example that U.K. equities trade at a significant discount to many of those in the U.S. "In the U.S., I would say airlines, leisure and hospitality, have not fully recovered yet compared to where they were prior to this pandemic. So I think there's still room to run there."

Other strategists also suggested that the tug-of-war between cyclical and growth stocks will likely continue into the second half of the year.

"One day, it's growth is in favor. The next day, value's in favor. A lot of that is being driven by interest rates and thoughts on the Fed," Chris Hodge, chief investment officer of Cornerstone Wealth, told Yahoo Finance. "There's certainly no question as we hit the summer slump, the dog days, so to say, that markets have not yet really decided on what the next move is going to be."

"We're passing through the easiest compares in modern history, comparing against the COVID shutdowns. So unfortunately, we think a lot of the easy money has been made in 2021," he added. "Going forward, the path is going to be a little more difficult, as we think we're in for some growth deceleration and, hopefully, some leveling off on the inflation front as well."

4:05 p.m. ET: Stocks kick off first session of Q3 higher; S&P 500 rises to all-time high

Here were the main moves in markets as of 4:05 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +22.43 (+0.52%) to 4,319.93

  • Dow (^DJI): +131.02 (+0.38%) to 34,633.53

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +18.42 (+0.13%) to 14,522.38

  • Crude (CL=F): +$1.50 (+2.04%) to $74.97 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): +$4.40 (+0.25%) to $1,776.00 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +3.7 bps to yield 1.4800%

1:44 p.m. ET: Robinhood files prospectus to go public

Online trading platform Robinhood filed its S-1 prospectus with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, marking a significant step forward in the company's plan to go forward with an initial pubic offering.

In the filing, Robinhood said it had monthly active users of 17.7 million as of March 2021 and estimated that nearly half of all its new accounts were created by first-time investors. Total revenue grew 245% to $959 million between the end of December 2019 and December 2020. The company was profitable in 2020, improving from a loss in 2019, but lost $1.4 billion in the first three months of 2021 amid a surge in retail trading.

11:51 a.m. ET: 130 countries agree to U.S. minimum corporate tax proposal, Yellen says

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Thursday that 130 countries representing 90% of global gross domestic product have agreed to support the United States' proposed global minimum corporate tax rate of at least 15%.

The move, which the Biden administration has discussed for months, will "ensure that corporations shoulder a fair share of the burden," Yellen said in a Twitter post.

"Today is an historic day for economic diplomacy. For decades, the United States has participated in a self-defeating international tax competition, lowering our corporate tax rates only to watch other nations lower theirs in response," Yellen said. "The result was a global race to the bottom."

10:25 a.m. ET: U.S. manufacturing activity cooled more than expected in June: ISM

U.S. manufacturing sector activity retreated more than expected in June, reaching the lowest level since January.

The Institute for Supply Management's June purchasing managers' index for factory activity fell to 60.6. This came following a print of 61.2 in May, and came in below the 60.9 expected, according to Bloomberg consensus data.

Beneath the headline index, prices paid reached the highest since 1979, signaling ongoing inflationary pressures across supply chains. However, the employment index dipped below 50, falling into contractionary territory for the first time since November 2020, amid labor supply shortages.

9:38 a.m. ET: Crude oil touches highest level since October 2018 on reopening hopes

U.S. West Texas intermediate crude oil futures reached as high as $76.11 Thursday morning, adding to gains after a string of economic data came in stronger than expected and reinforced prospects of a solid economic recovery.

The level marked the highest since October 2018, and neared an almost seven-year high of $76.90. The commodity's prices have rebounded and risen 56% so far for the year-to-date, with optimism over increased consumer mobility and travel and fuel demand helping push prices higher. Crude oil prices are also up sharply compared to 2019, rising 28% over the past two years.

9:31 a.m. ET: Stocks open higher

Here's where markets were trading just after the opening bell Thursday morning:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +8.48 (+0.2%) to 4,305.98

  • Dow (^DJI): +58.71 (+0.17%) to 34,561.22

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +7.79 (+0.05%) to 14,513.29

  • Crude (CL=F): +$2.30 (+3.13%) to $75.77 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): +$10.40 (+0.59%) to $1,782.00 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +1.5 bps to yield 1.459%

8:35 a.m. ET: New jobless claims dipped back below 400,000 for the first time in three weeks

Initial unemployment claims improved more than expected to fall below 400,000 for the first time in three weeks, resuming a downward trend as labor market conditions improved further.

New weekly filings came in at 364,000 for the week ended June 26, the Labor Department said Thursday. This beat consensus expectations for 388,000, according to Bloomberg data. During the prior week, claims totaled 415,000.

Continuing jobless claims, however, were higher than expected. These came in at 3.469 million versus the 3.34 million expected and the upwardly revised 3.413 million during the previous week.

7:02 a.m. ET Thursday: Stock futures point to a mixed open

Here's where markets were trading Thursday morning:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 4,287.5, -1 point (-0.02%)

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 34,413.00, +14 points (+0.04%)

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 14,506.25, -42.74 points (-0.29%)

  • Crude (CL=F): +$1.52 (+2.07%) to $74.99 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): +$2.90 (+0.16%) to $1,774.50 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +3.6 bps to yield 1.48%

6:15 p.m. ET Wednesday: Stock futures add to gains

Here's where markets were trading into the overnight session on Wednesday:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 4,294.75, +6.25 points (+0.15%)

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 34,457.00, +58 points (+0.17%)

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 14,558.50, +9.50 points (+0.07%)

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 11: People visit the Fearless Girl Statue in front of the New York Stock Exchange in Wall Street on May 11, 2021 in New York City. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced pandemic restrictions to be lifted on May 19.  (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 11: People visit the Fearless Girl Statue in front of the New York Stock Exchange in Wall Street on May 11, 2021 in New York City. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced pandemic restrictions to be lifted on May 19. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck