US STOCKS-Tech boost lifts S&P to record as U.S. Treasury yields retreat

by Reuters
Thursday, 8 April 2021 18:49 GMT

(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window.)

* Growth stocks outperform value stocks

* Canopy Growth down on deal to buy Supreme Cannabis

* Dow up 0.05%, S&P 500 up 0.40%, Nasdaq up 0.96% (Updates to mid-afternoon, changes byline, adds Powell comments)

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, April 8 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 hit a record high on Thursday, as Treasury yields fell following softer-than-anticipated labor market data and helped lift technology and other growth stocks.

Weekly initial jobless claims data showed a second straight rise, conflicting with the recent payrolls report, and buttressed the Federal Reserve's dovish policy stance to keep interest rates lower for a substantial period.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell signaled on Wednesday the central bank is nowhere near to reducing its support for the U.S. economy, noting that an expected rise in prices this year is likely to be temporary.

The softer data helped yields on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note fall as low as 1.628% for a second straight day as it continues to back away from a 14-month high of 1.776% hit in late March.

"Both markets have been given the same communication and the same information, but the bond market is thinking that when inflation runs a little bit hot, the Fed is going to make certain changes," said Mike Zigmont, head of research and trading at Harvest Volatility Management in New York.

"And the equity market is thinking when inflation runs a little bit hot, the Fed will make no changes."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 18.07 points, or 0.05%, to 33,464.33, the S&P 500 gained 16.25 points, or 0.40%, to 4,096.2 and the Nasdaq Composite added 130.75 points, or 0.96%, to 13,819.60.

The recent pullback in yields has helped high growth names such as those in the technology sector, the best performing sector on the day, while megacap stocks such as Apple , Microsoft and Amazon were the biggest boosts to the S&P 500.

The gains have also sent the tech-heavy Nasdaq to a seven-week high and within 2% of its February 12 record closing high.

The Russell 1000 growth index, which consists of tech-related stocks, gained 1.05%, while its value counterpart , comprising mostly financials and energy names, slipped 0.11%.

Trading activity has also tapered off, with the three lowest volume days of the year occurring this week ahead of first-quarter earnings season next week with results from big U.S. banks on tap. Analysts have raised expectations for first-quarter S&P 500 earnings increase to 24.2%, according to Refinitiv IBES data as of April 1, versus 21% forecast on Feb. 5.

Tesla Inc gained 2.02% on the Joe Biden administration's $174 billion proposal to boost electric vehicles.

U.S. shares of Canopy Growth Corp dropped about 4.54% on a deal to buy rival Supreme Cannabis Co Inc for C$323.3 million ($256.9 million), as the world's biggest cannabis producer bolsters its portfolio to tap surging demand.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.51-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.67-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 34 new 52-week highs and 1 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 64 new highs and 25 new lows. (Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by David Gregorio)

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