S&P 500 edges higher to another all-time high, on pace for 4th straight positive week

S&P 500 edges higher to another all-time high, on pace for 4th straight positive week

U.S. stocks rose again on Friday as the market’s record run carried on amid strong earnings from blue-chip companies.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 200 points after crossing the 34,000 threshold for the first time ever. The S&P 500 rose 0.3% to hit a fresh high and the Nasdaq Composite traded near the flat line.

The last of the six largest U.S. banks – Morgan Stanley — reported stronger-than-expected earnings, bolstered by strong trading and investment banking results. Shares of the bank rose 0.3%.

PNC Financial gained more than 2% after the bank beat estimates on the top and bottom lines for its first-quarter report. 

Wall Street is poised to wrap up another winning week. The S&P 500 has gained 1% this week, on pace for its fourth straight positive week. The Dow has climbed 0.7%, while the Nasdaq is up 1% through Thursday.

“The Dow’s push through 34,000 is a signal that investor appetite for future growth prospects is spilling over into more value-oriented names,” said Peter Essele, head of portfolio management at Commonwealth Financial Network. “The demand for industrials and more cyclically-oriented areas should continue as the vaccines take hold and earnings potentially come in higher than originally expected.”

Investor sentiment was boosted by economic data on Thursday that pointed to a rebound in consumer spending and the jobs market.

Retail sales jumped 9.8% in March as additional stimulus sent consumer spending soaring, topping the Dow Jones estimate of a 6.1% gain.

Meanwhile, U.S. jobless claims dropped to the lowest level since March 2020. The Labor Department reported 576,000 first-time filings for unemployment insurance for the week ended April 10. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected a total of 710,000.

“Retail sales, much like every other data point in the past month, is the polar opposite of the same period a year ago,” said Jamie Cox, managing partner for Harris Financial Group. “The data were off-the-charts horrible, now the data are off-the-charts terrific. It’s what happens from here that matters.”

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