The stock market gained Thursday at midday as economic reports showed a tighter-than-expected job market and an expansion in the private sector.
The Nasdaq composite and the S&P 500 climbed 0.9%. The Russell 2000 rose 0.4%. The Nasdaq is holding above its 50-day moving average, while the S&P 500 is back above the 200-day line.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.7%. Intel (INTC) climbed more than 5%.
Volume fell on the NYSE and Nasdaq compared with the same time on Wednesday.
Jobless claims last week fell to 187,000 from 215,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday. That was the lowest level for initial claims in over 52 years, going back to September 1969. Economists had forecast 210,000 new claims. That’s good news for workers, but not for companies that are facing a labor shortage.
U.S. Stock Market Today Overview
|Last Update: 12:08 PM ET 3/24/2022|
Stock Market Gains As PMI Shows Expansion
In other economic news, the S&P’s Purchasing Manufacturers Index came out Thursday showing an expansion of the U.S. private sector. It showed demand strengthening and supply issues softening. The PMI composite in March came in at 58.5, an eight-month high and an increase from 55.9 in February.
Orders for durable goods fell 2.2% in February. The decline was worse than estimates for a 0.5% drop and a slowdown from the 1.6% increase the previous month.
Meanwhile, Russian stocks jumped about 10% Thursday as the Russia stock market opened for the first time in almost a month.
The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield ticked higher to 2.34% Thursday.
The price of U.S. crude oil eased 2% to $112.60 a barrel. Gold, silver and copper rose. Agricultural commodities such as wheat and corn fell.
Australia-based mining company BHP Group (BHP) rose above the 73.68 buy point of a large cup with handle. But volume was below average.
The Innovator IBD 50 ETF (FFTY) climbed 1.3%, led by metals makers and one of its holdings, Air Transport Services Group (ATSG).
ATSG led the index with a gap-up that took the stock above the 32.83 buy point of a three-weeks-tight pattern. Air Transport Services, which was discussed in IBD 50 Stocks to Watch Wednesday, leases cargo jets. Its customers include Amazon.com‘s (AMZN) Prime fast-shipping service.
Metals Makers Continue To Lead
Cleveland-Cliffs (CLF) gained 10% to new highs as metals makers continued to outperform amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and rising inflation.
Before Thursday’s open, Darden Restaurants (DRI), KB Home (KBH) and Titan Machinery (TITN) reported quarterly earnings. Darden shares slid 1.5%. KBH dropped 4.5%. And Titan stock tumbled 6% at midday.
Among Dow Jones stocks, Apple (AAPL) rose 1% and Microsoft (MSFT) moved up 0.5%.
Health care stocks continued to outperform. UnitedHealth (UNH), a Dow Jones stock to watch, gained 1.4% Thursday and remains in its buy range after a recent breakout. Anthem (ANTM), a Leaderboard stock, gained 2.4%. Anthem is still within buy range above its latest entry of 461.64. The weekly chart shows ANTM getting much-needed support at the 10-week moving average.
EV Stocks Gain
In electric-vehicle stocks, Nikola (NKLA) pared gains to 6% after rising as much as 19%. The company said it has begun production of its commercial truck at its Arizona factory.
Nio (NIO) fell 1% ahead of its earnings report. The Chinese EV startup is reporting fourth-quarter results later today. Analysts expect Nio to lose 14 cents per American depositary receipt vs. a loss of 16 cents a year ago. Revenue is expected to jump 50% to $1.535 billion.
Tesla (TSLA) added 1.3% and is on track for an eighth consecutive gain. It’s also on pace for a second straight week of 10%-plus gains.
Uber Technologies (UBER) rose 4.7% after the company said it will list all New York City taxis on its app. The Wall Street Journal said the agreement may ease Uber’s driver shortage and direct more business to cabdrivers.
Follow Michael Molinski on Twitter @IMmolinski
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