S&P 500, Nasdaq 100 Eye Record Close As Magnificent 7 Rally, Bitcoin Rebounds: What's Driving Markets Thursday?

Zinger Key Points
  • U.S. equities surged on Thursday, fueled by optimism over potential rate cuts amidst a possibly slowing labor market pace.
  • Top S&P 500 performers included First Solar and Enphase Energy, while Lamb Weston Holdings faced a steep decline.

Thursday saw U.S. equities embracing a risk-on sentiment, with major averages all showing gains as investors anticipated a potentially slowing labor market pace in March, which could bolster the case for rate cuts starting in June.

Data released this morning revealed a surge in last week’s unemployment claims, exceeding predictions at 221,000 compared to the expected 214,000. Economists anticipate a moderation in nonfarm payrolls from 274,000 in February to 200,000 in March, along with a further easing in average hourly earnings growth from 4.3% to 4.1% year-on-year.

At midday trading in New York, the S&P 500 surged by 0.8% to 5,250 points, poised to achieve a record-high close. Similarly, the Nasdaq 100 rose by 1% to 18,350 points, also on track for a record closing. All S&P 500 sectors traded in the green.

AI-related stocks outperformed, evidenced by the Global X Artificial Intelligence & Technology ETF AIQ climbing 1.3% to reach fresh all-time highs.

Magnificent Seven witnessed the strongest session in nearly a month, as the Roundhill Magnificent Seven ETF MAGS rallied 1.7%, buoyed by robust gains from Meta Platforms Inc. META and Tesla Inc. TSLA.

Gold paused for a breather, down 0.5%, after hitting $2,300/oz. overnight, while Bitcoin rebounded by 2.9%, on track for the best session in more than a week.

Thursday’s Performance In Major U.S. Indices, ETFs

Major IndicesPrice1-day %chg
Nasdaq 10018,350.041.0%
Russell 20002,092.881.0%
S&P 5005,252.370.8%
Dow Jones39,318.120.5%

The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust SPY was 0.8% higher to $523.50, the SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average DIA was 0.5% higher to $393.11 and the tech-heavy Invesco QQQ Trust QQQ was 1.1% higher to $446.84, according to Benzinga Pro data

Sector-wise, the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR Fund XLY and the Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund XLK outperformed, up 1.1%, while the Health Care Select Sector SPDR Fund XLV was the laggard, up 0.1%.

Thursday’s Stock Movers

  • Solar stocks rallied Thursday, with the Invesco Solar ETF TAN up over 3%. Industry heavyweight First Solar Inc. FSLR and Enphase Energy Inc. ENPH were up 5.8% and 6.5%, respectively, representing the top performers in the S&P 500 index for the day.
  • Lamb Weston Holdings Inc. LW fell over 18% as the company missed both earnings and revenue projections last quarter.
  • Other companies reacting to earnings were Levi Strauss & Co. LEVI, up 16%, RPM International Inc. RPM down 5.4%, BlackBerry Ltd. BB up 10%, ConAgra Brands Inc. CAG, up 5.5%.
  • Nikola Corp. NKLA rose by 12% after the company produced 43 hydrogen-electric trucks in the first quarter, surpassing the production level for all of 2023 in a single quarter.

Read Now: AI Revolution Is Underway, Yet Its Economic Impact Is ‘Several Years Off’: Goldman Sachs

Photo: Kametaro via Shutterstock

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