Wall Street marched higher on Thursday, with the S&P 500 at a record high for a sixth consecutive time amid strong data and as U.S. House lawmakers passed a budget resolution the White House said drives economic growth and job creation, and opens the door for tax reform.
Information technology stocks and financials both climbed about 1% and were the best gainers on the S&P, with eight of the 11 sectors in the green. Goldman Sachs ( GS ) had the best performers on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, while the Nasdaq posted the strongest increase among the benchmarks. Microsoft ( MSFT ) rose 1.7% after Canaccord Genuity upgraded the firm to buy from hold.
With investors looking ahead to Friday’s key nonfarm payrolls report, Thursday’s data showed a generally strong picture. The US trade deficit narrowed more than expected in August, and first time jobless claims fell by a greater-than-expected 12,000 to 260,000 in the last week of September. Factory orders shot up 1.2% in August, better than estimates for 1%.
It added to optimism for the US economy. Goldman Sachs raised its forecast for the third quarter to 2% from 1.8%. It also raised the likelihood of a 25 basis-point interest-rate increase to about 89% on the CME Group’s FedWatch tool from 72% a week ago. Outlook for higher borrowing costs helped bank shares, with Bank of America ( BAC ) up 1.6% and Citigroup ( C ) rising 2.2%.
While the House budget resolution passing was described as procedural step forward by Reuters, the news agency said it includes a tool that would allow Republicans to bypass Democrats and pass a tax bill in the Senate with a simple majority.
The focus Friday though will be on the key jobs figure at 8:30am ET, with expectations on Econoday for jobs growth of 100,000 in September, down from 156,000 a month earlier. The unemployment rate is projected to remain at 4.4%.
Here’s where the markets stood by the close:
Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 113.75 points (+0.50%)
S&P 500 was up 14.33 points (+0.56%)
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 50.73 points (+0.78%)
FTSE 100 was up 0.54%
Nikkei 225 was up 0.01%
Hang Seng Index was closed
Shanghai China Composite Index was closed
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