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U.S. Stocks Rally To Record Highs On Upbeat Nvidia Earnings

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February 22 2024 11:30AM

Stocks showed a substantial move to the upside during trading on Thursday, with the Dow (DOWI:DJI) and the S&P 500 (SPI:SP500) reaching new record closing highs. The tech-heavy Nasdaq (NASDAQI:COMP) had also been poised to set a record closing high but ended the day just shy of its November 2021 levels.

The major averages held on to strong gains going into the close, ending the sharply higher. The Nasdaq skyrocketed 460.75 points or 3.0 percent to 16,041.62, the S&P 500 surged 105.23 points or 2.1 percent to 5,087.03 and the Dow jumped 456.87 points or 1.2 percent to 39,069.11.

The rally on Wall Street largely reflected a positive reaction to earnings news from Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA), with the chipmaker spiking by 16.4 percent to a record closing high.

Nvidia soared after reporting better than expected fourth quarter results amid strong demand for its chips to power artificial intelligence. The company also provided upbeat revenue guidance.

Shares of Nvidia have skyrocketed this year amid optimism about demand for its AI chips, and traders had been questioning whether its results would support further upside.

Ahead of the earnings news, Danni Hewson, head of financial analysis at AJ Bell said Nvidia’s results could be “make or break time for markets” and said the company needed to “smash it out of the park and show that the AI boom still has momentum.”

In U.S. economic news, a report released by the Labor Department showed an unexpected dip in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended February 17th.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims fell to 201,000, a decrease of 12,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 213,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 218,000 from the 213,000 originally reported for the previous week.

The National Association of Realtors also released a report showing a significant rebound in existing home sales in the month of January.

Sector News

Semiconductor stocks skyrocketed on the heels of the upbeat Nvidia earnings, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index soaring by 5.0 percent to a record closing high.

Substantial strength was also visible among computer hardware stocks, as reflected by the 4.8 percent spike by the NYSE Arca Computer Hardware Index.

Software and networking stocks also saw considerable strength, contributing to the surge by the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

Outside the tech sector, retail, transportation and pharmaceutical stocks moved notably higher, while gold and telecom stocks moved to the downside.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index spiked by 2.2 percent to a record high, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index jumped by 1.3 percent.

Most European stocks also moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index surged by 1.5 the 1.5 percent, the French CAC 40 Index shot up by 1.3 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.3 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries showed a lack of direction over the course of the session before closing roughly flat. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, crept up by less than a basis point to 4.327 percent.

Looking Ahead

Following the rally during today’s session, traders may look to take a breather on Friday amid a lack of major U.S. economic data.