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Stock market news today: Nasdaq leads market rally ahead of crucial jobs data

Tech stocks led the major averages higher on Thursday as investors looked again to labor market data for signposts to the path of interest rates.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) lagged the other major averages, rising about 0.2%. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 (^GSPC) popped 0.8% and the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) pointed to a rebound for tech stocks, rising nearly 1.4%.

Signs this week that the labor market is finally getting back to normal point to the Federal Reserve's anti-inflation interest rate hikes as having their desired impact. With a soft landing for the economy looking more likely, traders have been betting on a Fed policy shift to cut rates.

Read more: What the Fed rate-hike pause means for bank accounts, CDs, loans, and credit cards

Tech stocks led the gains with Alphabet (GOOGL) shares surging more than 5% after the company launched new AI initiatives.

The latest weekly jobless claims data revealed 220,000 claims were filed in the week ending Dec. 2. The number came in line with what economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected and was up just 2,000 from the week prior, largely reflecting limited increases in layoffs.

But the crucial monthly US jobs report on Friday will be the real test of inflation and interest rate expectations before the Fed's last meeting of the year next week.

Live coverage is over
  • Josh Schafer

    Stocks rally ahead of November jobs report

    Tech stocks led the major averages higher on Thursday as investors looked again to labor market data for signposts to the path of interest rates.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) lagged the other major averages, rising about 0.2%. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 (^GSPC) popped 0.8% and the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) pointed to a rebound for tech stocks, rising nearly 1.4%.

    Labor market data throughout the week has pointed to softening in the labor market. But the real test will come Friday morning with the November jobs report set for release at 8:30 a.m. ET. The release is expected to show nonfarm payrolls in November rose by 185,000 while the unemployment rate remained flat at 3.9%, according to consensus estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

  • Josh Schafer

    Trending tickers in afternoon trade

    AMD (AMD) led the Yahoo Finance trending tickers page on Thursday. The stock soared nearly 10% as the company launched its most advanced chip yet targeted at generative AI. AMD CEO Lisa Su told Yahoo Finance's Brian Sozzi, "There are going to be multiple winners in this market. I think there's a great growth opportunity for us; we expect to gain market share."

    Alphabet (GOOGL) shares surged about 6% after the company launched new AI initiatives, as a broader tech rally led stocks higher.

    Nikola (NKLA) stock tumbled more than 20% as the struggling electric truck maker announced plans to raise more capital.

    Shares in C3.ai (AI) dropped more than 10% after the 2023 AI darling reported earnings that missed Wall Street's estimates. The company guided for current quarter revenue to fall between $74 million and $78 million. Wall Street had hoped for revenue of $77.7 million.

  • Josh Schafer

    The case for S&P 500 to hit 5,200 in 2024

    One of Wall Street's biggest bulls sees the S&P 500 (^GSPC) surging more than 13% over the next year.

    Fundstrat's head of research Tom Lee projects the benchmark index will end 2024 at 5,200 as falling inflation leads to easing financial conditions and the US economy once again skirts recession.

    Lee's target is the highest among strategists tracked by Yahoo Finance, surpassing both Deutsche Bank and BMO Capital Markets' call for 5,100 for the S&P at the end of next year.

    Lee had a 4,750 call on the S&P going into this year, which he described as a higher-than-consensus prediction largely because he felt inflation would fall more than others and the US economy wouldn't slip into recession. With markets now cheering soft inflation prints and signs the economy is still growing, Lee thinks a similar narrative plays out in 2024.

    "2023 was a year where the [stock market] technicians got it right ... and economists got it wrong" Lee said at a 2024 outlook roundtable on Thursday. "In 2024, I think that this is actually still a residual game plan ... the technicians will get the year right and the economists are gonna get the year wrong."

    Read more here.

  • Josh Schafer

    Mortgage rates hit lowest levels since August

    Mortgage rates are continuing to slide, falling from the 20-year high seen earlier in the fall.

    Yahoo Finance's Gabriella Cruz-Martinez reports:


    Mortgage rates fell for the sixth straight week, hovering just above 7% and reigniting some life back into the refinance market.

    The rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage decreased to 7.03% from 7.22% the week prior, Freddie Mac reported Thursday. That’s its lowest level since mid-August and down three-quarters of a point since the end of October.

    While some would-be buyers still stuck to the sidelines despite the dip, homeowners looking for a chance to refinance were quick to move.

    "When rates began to rapidly drop, purchase applications rebounded initially, but this improvement in demand diminished in the last week," said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, in a statement. "Although these lower rates remain a welcome relief, it is clear they will have to further drop to more consistently reinvigorate demand."

  • Josh Schafer

    Tech titans lead market rally

    Tech stocks are ripping higher on Thursday with the Nasdaq up over 1%.

    Alphabet (GOOGL) shares have surged about 6% after the company launched new AI initiatives. Meanwhile, Nvidia, Amazon, Meta, and Apple are also up at least 1% in a Magnificent Seven-led rally in markets.

    Below is a look at how some of the biggest stocks in the Nasdaq 100 are performing today just before 1 p.m. ET.

  • Alexandra Canal

    The bundle is back

    The streaming wars have reached a fever pitch with more ads, higher prices, and greater competition as platforms scramble to reach profitability and capture paying users.

    With so many choices now available to consumers, the media landscape seems to be reverting to the cable TV bundle of years past — the very thing that streaming set out to undo.

    On Monday, telecom giant Verizon (VZ) announced it will offer a $10 bundle for the ad-supported plans of both Netflix (NFLX) and Warner Bros. Discovery's Max (WBD) streaming services, yielding more than 40% in savings.

    The offer, available for Verizon's myPlan customers, will begin on Thursday. The company will also offer an additional bundle that combines the ad-free Disney+ plan along with the ad-supported tiers of Hulu, ESPN+, Netflix, and Max for $20 a month.

    The news comes after the Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Paramount Global (PARA) and Apple (AAPL) are in early-stage talks to bundle their streaming services at a discount. Paramount declined to comment while Apple did not respond to Yahoo Finance's request.

    The concept of bundling isn't new. Companies in the space have recently been doing it with their own services. Apple for instance offers Apple One, which combines Apple TV+ with other services like Apple Music and Apple Arcade. The bundle launched globally in late 2020.

    On Wednesday, Disney, which also has been offering a bundle with Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+, officially began its domestic rollout of a one-app experience that incorporates Hulu content via Disney+ — a similar play to Paramount's Showtime combination as well as the integration of HBO Max and Discovery+, which both merged their respective services earlier this year.

    There have also been third-party bundles, with the ad-supported Paramount+ plan automatically offered to Walmart+ members. Meanwhile, customers of Instacart+ receive Peacock's ad-supported plan at no additional cost. Paramount also struck a partnership with Delta earlier this year.

    "Everybody's trying to come up with something proprietary," Mark Boidman, partner and global head of media at Solomon Partners, told Yahoo Finance of the bundle. "When you can bundle something together at an attractive price in the minds of consumers then that makes sense."

    Read more here.

  • Josh Schafer

    Dow trails S&P 500 by most since 2000

    Stocks are higher on Wednesday but the Dow Jones is once again lagging the other major averages, a trend that's played out throughout much of 2023.

    New research from DataTrek helps us understand why.

    The Dow Jones industrial average hasn't fallen this far behind the S&P 500 in a given year since the dot-com bubble, according to new research from DataTrek. The oldest of the three major averages is up just shy of 9%. The benchmark S&P 500 has doubled that, rising almost 19%.

    As with most things that have underperformed the S&P 500 during 2023, the key has been exposure to the "Magnificent Seven" tech stocks — Apple (AAPL), Alphabet (GOOGL, GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), Amazon (AMZN), Meta (META), Tesla (TSLA), and Nvidia (NVDA).

    Just two of those companies, Apple and Microsoft, are in the Dow. The index has a less than 20% exposure to the information technology sector. When including Magnificent Seven companies and other traditional tech sector companies, the S&P 500 is 40% technology stocks.

    "The S&P’s outsized weighting in tech has enabled it to outperform as they have all the key ingredients to do so: global, scalable businesses that dominate their respective industries," DataTrek's co-founders Nicholas Colas and Jessica Rabe wrote in a new research note on Wednesday night. "They are also enablers of the “next big thing” relative to gen AI. The power of disruptive innovation is a structural trend that is unlikely to reverse course."

  • Josh Schafer

    Jobless claims come in flat again, but don't lose track of this indicator in 2024

    Jobless claims were roughly flat in the week ending Dec. 2.

    Sitting at 220,000, a chart from Jefferies shows that despite some mid-year volatility, the four-week moving average is largely unchanged since the end of winter.

    The roughly flat trend in jobless claims reflects a labor market that's remained relatively steadfast despite some signs of loosening, particularly with overall unemployment picking up over the last several months.

    Despite recent staleness, Deutsche Bank's chief US economist Matthew Luzzetti believes claim filings will still be an indicator to watch in 2024. If the weekly jobless claims print breaks out of its current pattern it could be a sign the economy is slowly tipping into recession, per Luzzetti.

    "Initial jobless claims are going to be kind of our best high-frequency read on what's what's happening [in the labor market]," Luzzetti told Yahoo Finance at a media roundtable on Wednesday.

    Deutsche Bank has projected a mild recession in the first half of the year with the unemployment rate hitting 4.5%.

    "If that [jobless claims number] moves up into the, you know, [230,000 to 250,000] range on an average basis and kind of stays there, that'd be something that I think is more in line with our forecast," Luzzetti said.

  • Josh Schafer

    Stocks open in the green

    US stocks were higher on Thursday as investors looked again to labor market data for signposts to the path of interest rates.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) lagged the other major averages, rising about 0.2%. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 (^GSPC) popped 0.5% and the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) pointed to a rebound for tech stocks, rising 0.8%.

    The latest weekly jobless claims data revealed 220,000 claims were filed in the week ending Dec. 2. The number came in line with what economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected and was up just 2,000 from the week prior, largely reflecting limited increases in layoffs.

Click here for in-depth analysis of the latest stock market news and events moving stock prices.

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