U.S. main stock indexes rose on Thursday with Disney and Salesforce boosting the blue-chip Dow index, while data showing a rise in weekly jobless claims helped ease concerns about the Federal Reserve’s rate-hike path.
Disney Co gained 3% to its highest level since late August after topping earnings estimates and announcing 7,000 job cuts as part of an effort to save $5.5 billion in costs.
Fellow Dow component Salesforce Inc added 3% as a source familiar with the matter told Reuters that hedge fund Third Point LLC owns a stake in the company.
Investor sentiment was further boosted after data showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 196,000 last week, above a forecast of 190,000 claims.
The data comes on the heels of a strong January employment report that rattled markets last week.
“This is a definite sign that weakness in the labor market is coming despite the huge job number last week,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities.
“There are so many companies that are laying off people…if this trend continues and inflation continues to head downwards, then the Fed’s tune will change and a pause is not that far away.”
Traders are betting that the central bank will raise its benchmark rate to a peak of 5.1% in July, largely in line with the forecasts of Fed officials.
At 10:11 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 242.31 points, or 0.71%, at 34,191.32, the S&P 500 was up 29.97 points, or 0.73%, at 4,147.83, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 131.96 points, or 1.11%, at 12,042.48.
All the major S&P 500 sectors were higher, with technology jumping 1.7%.
Megacap stocks including Meta Platforms, Apple Inc, Tesla Inc and Microsoft Corp climbed in the range of 1.1% to 4.8% as U.S. Treasury yields extended declines.
Stocks have enjoyed an upbeat start to the year on hopes that the Fed would abandon its hawkish rhetoric and pilot the economy to a soft landing.
PepsiCo Inc rose 1.6% as the snack and beverage maker reported better-than-expected results, while drugmaker AbbVie Inc gained 4.6% after beating fourth-quarter profit expectations.
Ralph Lauren Corp gained 3% after beating quarterly sales expectations, while peer Tapestry Inc soared 5% on a strong annual profit forecast.
The consumer discretionary sector housing the luxury names added 1.7%.
Of more than half of the S&P 500 companies that have reported fourth-quarter earnings so far, 69% have topped estimates, as per Refinitiv data.
Cardiovascular Systems Inc (CSI) soared 48.1% after Abbott Laboratories said it would buy the medical device maker for $837.6 million.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 3.03-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 2.17-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 14 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 49 new highs and 20 new lows.