S&P 500 closes at record as interest rates retreat

The S&P 500 set a record closing high for the third time this week as interest rates further cooled-off on Thursday.

The Dow waffled throughout the session but finally ended 57 points higher. The S&P 500 tacked on 17 points. The Nasdaq outperformed by far, in a 140-point surge.

Large cap tech names are in favor once again, as Art Hogan, chief market strategist, National Securities - points out.

"So I think we threw all of technology out - the baby with the bathwater - in the first quarter in that rotation, and as interest rates started inching up and then we realized, wait a second, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, all have earnings in the here and now and actually can be measured on a multiple of price to earnings. So I think that has gotten investors back into those names."

Investors had to overlook a surprise rise in unemployment claims for the second week in a row. New applications for jobless benefits rose to 744,000 - that's in contrast to other economic data suggesting the economic rebound is firmly in place. As of late March, 18.2 million received some sort of government unemployment assistance.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell highlighted that as a key concern during an International Monetary Fund panel.

"So it's important to remember, we're not going back to the same economy. This will be a different economy. And one of the things we hear from from companies is that they've spent a lot of time looking at ways to have more effective technology and perhaps fewer people. So you're going to see some of that in these public-facing jobs. So there will be millions of people who have a hard time finding their way back into the workforce and recovering the lives that they had just a year ago. And I think it would be appropriate for us to continue to support those people."

GameStop - back in the news. The company says it will tap activist investor Ryan Cohen as Chairman of the Board. The co-founder of Chewy, the online pets retailer, is said to be the mastermind behind a plan to turn GameStop into an e-commerce retailer after years of struggling to grow vide-game sales in its brick-and-mortar locations. Shares of GameStop shed 4 percent.

Video Transcript

- The S&P 500 set a record closing high for the third time this week as interest rates further cooled off on Thursday. The Dow waffled throughout the session but finally ended 57 points higher. The S&P 500 tacked on 17 points. The NASDAQ outperformed by far in a 140-point surge. Large cap tech names are in favor once again, as Art Hogan, chief market strategist of National Securities, points out.

ART HOGAN: So I think we threw all of technology out, like the baby with the bathwater, in the first quarter in that rotation as interest rates started inching up. And then we realized, wait a second. Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, Amazon all have earnings in the here and now and actually can be measured on a multiple of price to earnings. So I think that has gotten investors back into those names necessarily.

- Investors had to overlook a surprise rise in unemployment claims for the second week in a row. New applications for jobless benefits rose to 744,000. That's in contrast to other economic data suggesting the economic rebound is firmly in place. As of late March, 18.2 million Americans received some sort of government unemployment assistance. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell highlighted this as a key concern during an International Monetary Fund panel.

JEROME POWELL: So it's important to remember, we're not going back to the same economy. This will be a different economy. And one of the things we hear from companies is that they've spent a lot of time looking at ways to have more effective technology and perhaps fewer people. So you're going to see some of that in these public-facing jobs. So there will be millions of people who have a hard time finding their way back into the workforce and recovering the lives that they had just a year ago. And, you know, I think it would be appropriate for us to continue to support those people.

- GameStop back in the news. The company says it will tap activist investor Ryan Cohen as chairman of the board. The co-founder of online pet care retailer Chewy is said to be the mastermind behind a plan to transform GameStop into an e-commerce retailer. Shares of GameStop down 4%.