Wall Street inches higher as weekly jobless claims dip

  • The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits stayed below 500,000 for a third straight week, the lowest level since March 2020.
Published May 27, 2021

Wall Street's main indexes rose on Thursday, helped by gains in industrial and financial shares, after data showing fewer-than-expected weekly jobless claims bolstered hopes of a speedy U.S. recovery.

The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits stayed below 500,000 for a third straight week, the lowest level since March 2020.

A separate report showed the U.S. economy notched its second-fastest growth pace since 2003 in the latest quarter.

Financials, industrials and materials - sectors that tend to outperform when economic prospects brighten - were among the biggest boost to the S&P 500.

U.S. planemaker Boeing added about 3.1pc after its European rival Airbus outlined an almost two-fold increase in production, citing a strong recovery in aviation from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Boeing supplier General Electric added about 5.9pc.

"The market sentiment is quite bullish ... and it looks like the COVID winter is coming to an end," said Darren Schuringa, chief executive officer and founder of ASYMmetric ETF.

"Volatility in markets are here to stay and although retail investors are quite bullish and keep adding cash, institutional investors are a little skittish about adding or removing money and reallocating funds."

Worries about rising inflation and a potential tightening of policy have weighed on Wall Street's main indexes in May, with the benchmark S&P 500 on track for its smallest monthly gain in four.

Those concerns, however, eased this week as a number of Fed officials said the central bank would maintain its dovish stance, even as they acknowledged they were closer to debating reining in support.

Investors will now look out for the personal consumption expenditure report due on Friday as it is the central bank's preferred inflation measure for its 2pc long-term target.

At 11:32 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 100.66 points, or 0.29pc, at 34,423.71, the S&P 500 was up 7.91 points, or 0.19pc, at 4,203.90, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 8.81 points, or 0.06pc, at 13,746.80.

Yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note ticked back above the 1.6pc mark, keeping gains in check for high-growth stocks, many of which are technology-related and whose future cash flows are discounted when interest rates are higher.

Strategists expect the S&P 500 to end the year at about 4,300, according to a Reuters poll. The benchmark index is currently less than 1pc away from its record high of 4,238.04 points.

Nvidia Corp forecast second-quarter revenue above analysts' estimates, but shares fell 0.7pc as it could not say for certain how much of its recent revenue rise was driven by the volatile cryptocurrency-mining market.

Best Buy Co gained 1pc after it raised its full-year comparable sales forecast.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.96-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.84-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 20 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 87 new highs and 11 new lows.


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