Stock market hits record highs after better than expected unemployment data


Top line

Fresh off its second best first half in more than two decades, the S&P 500 hit record highs Thursday morning as jobless claims tumbled to their lowest level during the pandemic, triggering renewed optimism in the market work after a series of disappointing employment reports.


Shortly after the market opened, the S&P 500, which has closed at record highs for five consecutive sessions, jumped 0.2% to 4,307 points, breaking the 4,300 point threshold at which Goldman Sachs traded. waits for the index to end the year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, meanwhile, rose 74 points, or 0.2%, to 34,576, less than 0.6% from a record closing on May 7, while the Nasdaq, which a hit its last record on Tuesday, also rose slightly. higher, climbing 0.1%.

As oil prices hit their highest level in more than two years on Thursday morning, energy companies, which have far outperformed any other sector this year, continued to dominate the market.

In the S&P, the best performing companies Occidental Petroleum, Conocophillips and Schlumberger NV gained 4.7%, 3.3% and 2.9% respectively.

Fueling the morning’s gains, last week’s new jobless claims fell for the eighth time in nine weeks, with job cuts announced by employers last month reaching their lowest level since June 2000.

What to watch out for

At the start of the third quarter, Mace McCain, chief investment officer of Frost Investment Advisors, expects a growing number of industries to recover from the “very deep downturn precipitated by the pandemic”. McCain says the travel, leisure and entertainment industries will follow the lead of retail sales, which have already surpassed pre-pandemic levels.

Crucial quote

“Along with the wider reopening, employment numbers are increasing, and while the numbers have been disappointing for many on Wall Street, there has been an increase in employment in the restaurant industry – something which we expect to see in other areas as demand increases. , ”Says McCain, who adds,“ Equities seem to be the clear winner in today’s environment.

Chief critic

“With the good start to this bull market, stock valuations have become a widespread concern,” LPL Financial analysts wrote in a note this week, predicting that the S&P will only climb about 3% in the second half of the year. “After a big rally, more optimism is taken into account, and this higher bar then opens the door to disappointment.”

Further reading

Stock market posts second best first half in 23 years as S&P 500 hits new high (Forbes)

S&P 500, Nasdaq Set New Records as Experts Warn of ‘Absurd’ Investors’ Expectations (Forbes)

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