Investing.com – The Dow soared on Thursday as tech stocks rallied, led by Apple and Micron.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.84%, the S&P 500 gained 1.09%, while the Nasdaq Composite surged 1.42%.
A wave of buying in tech pushed the broader market higher as Wall Street analysts turned bullish on Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) ahead of its event on March 25, when the company is expected to launch a television and video service in a bid to bolster its services revenue and reduce its reliance on iPhones.
Needham upgraded its rating on Apple to strong buy and raised its price target on the stock to $225 from $180, saying the tech giant should be should be viewed as an ecosystem rather than a product company, which merits a higher valuation.
"We anticipate better than previously expected results from both Services and Wearables, Home and Accessories, as well as valuation upside created by falling churn and strong barriers to entry" for competitors, Needham analyst Laura Martin said in a note.
Citigroup raised its price target on Apple to $220 from $180, betting the company will launch a $100 billion buyback program and boost its dividend next month.
Semiconductor stocks also played a big role in the rally, thanks to swashbuckling gains in shares of Micron.
Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU) soared 9.6% after reporting earnings that beat estimates and announced that it would look to cut memory production in a bid to stave off the impact from falling demand.
But financials lagged. Along with pressure on bank stocks from a dovish Fed, Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) fell 1.1% after the New York Post reported that directors of Wells Fargo were talking to Harvey Schwartz, a former top executive at Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), about replacing current CEO Tim Sloan. Banking stocks were also weakened by the Federal Reserve's signal a day earlier to stand pat on rate hikes through 2019.
Homebuilders were also in favor as mortgage rates fell to their lowest levels in more than a year following the Fed's dovish statement.
The average rate on the popular 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell to 4.34%, the lowest in more than a year and 19 basis points lower than a year ago, according to Mortgage News Daily.
PulteGroup (NYSE:PHM), DR Horton (NYSE:DHI) and Lennar (NYSE:LEN) ended the day sharply higher.
In other corporate news, Levi Strauss & Co (NYSE:LEVI) rallied 31.8% on its debut following an IPO that raised more than $600 million.
Top S&P 500 Gainers and Losers Today:
ConAgra Foods (NYSE:CAG), Western Digital (NASDAQ:WDC) and Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU) were among the top S&P 500 gainers for the session.
Biogen (NASDAQ:BIIB), Monster Beverage (NASDAQ:MNST) and Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) were among the worst S&P 500 performers of the session.