Wall Street closed sharply higher on Thursday following strong labor market Data. Market participants have strong expected on Friday's nonfarm payroll data. However, COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers suffered due to government waiver of IPP. All the three major stock indexes finished in green.
How Did The Benchmarks Perform?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) was up 0.9% or 318.19 points to close at 34,548.53, marking a fresh closing high. In intraday trading, the blue-chip index recorded a new all-time high of 34,561.29. Notably, 27 components of the 30-stock index ended in the green while 3 in red.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite finished at 13,632.84, gaining 0.4% due to strong performance by large-cap technology stocks. The tech-laden index has reversed its four straight-day of losses despite concerns of higher inflation and earlier-than-expected rise in the benchmark interest rate.
Meanwhile, the S&P 500 surged 0.8% to end at 4,201.62. The Financials Select Sector SPDR (XLF), the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), the Communication Services Select Sector SPDR (XLC) and the Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) rallied 1.5%, 1.3%,1.2% and 1%, respectively. Notably, all eleven sectors of the benchmark index closed in the green.
The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) was down 4% to 18.39. A total of 11 billion shares were traded on Thursday, higher than the last 20-session average of 10 billion. Decliners outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by a 1.33-to-1 ratio. On Nasdaq, a 1.38-to-1 ratio favored declining issues.
Strong Labor Market Data
The Department of Labor reported that weekly jobless claims plummeted to a pandemic-ea low of 498,000 for the week ended May 1. The consensus estimate was 538,000. Previous week's data was revised upward to 590,000 from 553,000 reported earlier.
Continuing Claims were up by 37,000 week over week (a week in arrears from new claims): 3.69 million from the previous week’s revised 3.65 million. The four-week moving average for claims that smooth out fluctuations, dropped to 3.68 million, the lowest since Mar. 28, 2020.
The number of people receiving benefits from eight separate state and federal programs fell by 404,509 to a new pandemic-era low of 16.2 million as of April 17. Total claims had topped 30 million at the pick of pandemic. However, less than 2 million people were getting benefits before the outbreak of the pandemic.
COVID-19 Vaccine Manufacturers Suffer
The U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai has indicated that the Biden administration would support a temporary waiver for intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccines, as advocated by the World Health Organization. Pharmaceutical behemoths across the globe have expressed strong objection to this move. The proposal was originally presented by India and South Africa in order to boost vaccine production in developing countries.
Consequently, shares of major COVID-19 manufactures like Pfizer Inc. PFE, BioNTech SE BNTX and Moderna Inc. MRNA slid 1%, 1.6% and 1.4%, respectively. All three stocks carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Nonfarm productivity jumped 5.4% in first-quarter 2021 after declining a revised 3.8% in fourth-quarter 2020. The consensus estimate was 4.2%. Unit labor cost dropped 0.3% in first quarter 2021 after gaining a revised 5.6% in fourth-quarter 2020. The consensus estimate was for a decrease of 1.1%.
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