S&P 500, Dow on Course for Records
By Caitlin Ostroff and Karen Langley
U.S. stock indexes rose toward fresh records Thursday on strong
earnings reports and improving economic data.
The S&P 500 gained 1%, while the Dow Jones Industrial
Average added 0.8%, or about 272 points, putting both indexes on
pace for record closes. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite
advanced 1.3% as shares of big tech stocks rallied.
A powerful rally has pushed stocks to repeated highs in 2021,
and many investors believe the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines and
plentiful government spending suggest shares have room to keep
rising. The S&P 500 and Dow are both up about 11% for the
Investors will monitor earnings reports in the coming weeks as
they assess how the outlook for corporate earnings aligns with
increasingly high stock prices. Analysts expect that earnings among
companies in the S&P 500 jumped 29% in the first quarter from
the same period a year earlier, according to FactSet.
"There's elevated expectations coming into this quarter, but we
still think that there's going to be a significant amount of
companies beating those estimates," said Chad Oviatt, director of
investment management at Huntington Private Bank.
On Thursday investors rewarded shares of several reporting
companies. BlackRock shares gained 1.9% after the asset manager
said its quarterly profit rose nearly 50%. UnitedHealth Group
shares climbed 3.6% after the healthcare services company posted a
larger profit and stronger revenue on the year in the first
Shares of Bank of America, by contrast, dropped 3.6% after the
lender reported a jump in expenses.
Money managers also parsed new data as they look for signs of
improvement in the economy. U.S. retail sales -- a measure of
purchases at stores, at restaurants and online -- jumped 9.8% last
month. Household incomes have benefited from recent fiscal stimulus
measures that saw $1,400 checks hit some Americans' bank
"Economic data is going to continue to get better and better and
better as the economy opens up," said Tom Mantione, managing
director at UBS Private Wealth Management.
Fresh data also showed that 576,000 Americans applied for
first-time unemployment benefits in the week ended April 10, a
decrease from the 769,000 who applied in the week prior. The
Federal Reserve has said employment is one of the factors it is
watching to determine when to eventually lift interest rates.
An anticipated economic recovery has led some investors to buy
shares of companies sensitive to a rebound, such as energy, travel
and banks, which has helped send indexes to repeated record highs
"We want to see that the 2021 numbers -- even the 2022 numbers
-- are going to continue to look good," said Esty Dwek, head of
global market strategy at Natixis Investment Solutions. "We want to
see what guidance is going to be. For a lot of 2020, we had no
Among individual stocks, newly listed cryptocurrency exchange
Coinbase rose 1.4% to $333. Shares rose as high as $429.54 during
the stock's trading debut Wednesday and ended the session at
Overseas, the Stoxx Europe 600 gauge added 0.5%. The Shanghai
Composite Index declined 0.5%, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index
edged 0.4% lower. South Korea's Kospi added 0.4%.
In bond markets, the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note
dropped to 1.548%, from 1.637% Wednesday.
Write to Caitlin Ostroff at firstname.lastname@example.org and Karen
Langley at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 15, 2021 14:14 ET (18:14 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.