S&P 500 Hits New Record Ahead of Jobs Data

Big technology stocks jumped Thursday and powered the S&P 500 to a fresh high, its 16th for the year. 

The benchmark index rose 1%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite leapt past its peers and added 1.5%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 130 points, or 0.3%. 

Traders have been focused on Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s testimony to lawmakers this week. On Thursday, he rekindled hopes that the Fed may shift its policy stance soon when he said that the central bank was “not far” from being able to cut interest rates. 

The yield on the 2-year Treasury note, which is especially sensitive to interest-rate expectations, fell to 4.512%, from 4.56% the prior session. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell for the third consecutive session to 4.09%, its lowest level since early February. 

The monthly jobs report Friday will shed more light on how the economy has been doing and how quickly the Fed might move in coming months. 

The stock-market jump on Thursday builds on a rally that has persisted for much of the year and driven the S&P 500 up 8.1%. Many investors appear to be positioning for it to continue. 

“There’s no fear in the market,” said Matthew Tym, head of equity derivatives trading at Cantor Fitzgerald. “People really don’t seem to be worried about any sort of downside.”

Shares of some big technology stocks that had waffled earlier in the week rose in trading Thursday. Tech stocks, particularly those expected to benefit most from an artificial-intelligence boom, have powered the market higher for much of the year, though some of them have been volatile lately. 

Meta Platforms added more than 3%. Chip maker Nvidia, the big winner of the AI trade, rose 4.5% to a fresh high. 

The PHLX Semiconductor Index closed above 5000 for the first time and is up 24% in 2024, its best start to a year since 2000. 

Tym said that he’s noticed traders picking up stock options contracts that would profit if the rally continued, particularly in tech. 

In corporate news, shares of New York Community Bancorp jumped 5.8% Thursday after the troubled lender cut its quarterly dividend. The move follows a wild Wednesday session in which the stock dropped after a Journal report that the bank was seeking a cash infusion, then finished higher on news of a $1 billion investment.

Shares of the supermarket chain Kroger rose more than 9%, making it one of the S&P 500’s best performers after it impressed investors with its latest earnings report. The company’s chief executive told The Wall Street Journal he expects shoppers’ attitudes to improve after a stretch of rising food prices and pessimism about the U.S. economy. 

Gold prices rose for a sixth consecutive session to $2,158 per troy ounce, a record. 

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