S&P at New Peak

The S&P 500 closed at record levels on Thursday after blowout earnings results from two of the biggest tech companies in the world: Apple and Facebook.

The Dow Jones Industrials surged 239.98 points to end Thursday at 34,060.36

The S&P 500 jumped 28.29 points to 4,211.27, a new closing high.

The NASDAQ Composite regained 31.52 points to 14,082.55.

Apple said that sales jumped 54% during the quarter, with each product category seeing double-digit growth. The company also said it would increase its dividend by 7%, and authorized $90 billion in share buybacks. Still, Apple shares ended the day just under the flatline.

Thursday marks President Joe Biden’s 100th day in office. On Wednesday evening, he made his first address to a joint session of Congress where he pushed his so-far popular agenda, which includes a $2 trillion infrastructure plan as well as a freshly unveiled, $1.8 trillion plan for families, children and students.

Thursday is also the busiest day of the quarterly earnings season, with roughly 11% of the S&P 500 slated to provide quarterly updates.

McDonald’s published its results before the opening bell and told investors that its sales have finally topped pre-pandemic levels. The Dow component also raised its outlook for system-wide sales growth. The stock added 1.2% on by the close.

Caterpillar, which also reported on Thursday, lost 2% while Merck dropped 4.4% following disappointing results. Amazon, Gilead Sciences, Twitter, U.S. Steel and Western Digital will post results after the market closes.

Facebook’s revenue jumped 48%, driven by higher-priced ads, sending its stock up 7.3% and to a record. Qualcomm shares added 4.4% after reporting a 52% jump in revenue.

Economic data released Thursday gave investors an update on the progress of the economic recovery.

First-quarter Gross Domestic Product hit an annualized rate of 6.4%, according to a report published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, a sign that the U.S. economy began 2021 with an acceleration of commercial activity. Outside of the reopening-fueled third-quarter surge last year, it was the best period for GDP since the third quarter of 2003.

The U.S. Labor Department, meanwhile, reported that initial jobless claims last week totaled 553,000, just above the 528,000 estimate issued by Dow Jones.

Prices for 10-Year Treasurys regained lost ground, lowering yields to Wednesday’s 1.63%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices advanced $1.10 to $64.96 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices inched higher 60 cents to $1,774.50 U.S. an ounce.

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