Sunday, April 18, 2021

S&P 500 surges past record 4,000 on growth outlook

Apr 02. 2021
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By Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Olivia Raimonde, Kamaron Leach

- U.S. stocks climbed to a record high on the first day of the second quarter as increased stimulus in the world's largest economy fueled optimism about the global recovery.

The benchmark S&P 500 Index closed above 4,000 for the first time as investors weighed President Joe Biden's newly unveiled $2.25 trillion spending plan ahead of Friday's U.S. employment report, which is expected to show the quickest pace of hiring in five months. Technology shares led the gains, though value stocks also joined in on the rally. Treasuries rebounded after the worst quarter in decades. Oil climbed after the OPEC+ alliance agreed to increase production gradually over the next three months.

"The S&P 500 hitting a high point is a sign of the positive environment in this highly volatile time," said Greg Bassuk, chief executive officer at AXS Investments LLC.

Traders are jockeying for position before the Easter weekend after data showed U.S. private employers hired the most workers in six months, while initial jobless claims unexpectedly increased. Biden's ambitious plan to rebuild U.S. infrastructure has added to the growth outlook, even though Republican opposition to the plan raises questions about how much can actually be delivered.

Microsoft Corp. climbed for a second day as the company's multibillion-dollar deal to build customized versions of its HoloLens goggles for the U.S. Army moved forward. Western Digital Corp. and Micron Technology Inc. rallied after a report the two companies are individually exploring a potential deal for Japan's Kioxia Holdings Corp.

Investors remain focused on inflation risk as central banks reassert their commitment to low interest rates. Traders for now are looking past worsening virus trends, such as lockdowns in France and Canada's Ontario province.

"Before you worry about inflation, there's reflation and I think that's the main theme in the market," said Ed Campbell, portfolio manager and managing director at QMA.

These are some of the main moves in financial markets:

Stocks

The S&P 500 Index increased 1.2% to 4,019.82 as of 4:02 p.m. EDT, the highest on record.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.5% to 33,154.07.

The Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 1.8% to 13,480.11, the highest in more than two weeks on the largest jump in three weeks.

The Nasdaq 100 Index surged 1.8% to 13,329.52, the highest in almost six weeks on the biggest jump in three weeks.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 0.6% to 432.22, the highest in more than 13 months.

Currencies

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index sank 0.3% to 1,148.81, the biggest dip in more than two weeks.

The euro jumped 0.4% to $1.1775, the largest climb in more than two weeks.

The British pound increased 0.4% to $1.3833, the strongest in more than a week.

The Japanese yen strengthened 0.1% to 110.60 per dollar, the first advance in more than a week.

Bonds

The yield on two-year Treasury climbed less than one basis point to 0.16%, reaching the highest in more than three weeks on its fifth straight advance.

The yield on 10-year Treasurys fell six basis points to 1.68%, the largest drop in more than a week.

The yield on 30-year Treasurys sank seven basis points to 2.34%, the lowest in more than a week on the biggest tumble in more than three weeks.

Germany's 10-year yield sank four basis points to -0.33%, the largest tumble in a month.

Britain's 10-year yield fell five basis points to 0.795%, the first retreat in a week and the biggest drop in more than a week.

Commodities

West Texas Intermediate crude climbed 3.5% to $61.26 a barrel.

Gold strengthened 1.2% to $1,728.72 an ounce.

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