February 26, 2024

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S&P, Nasdaq hit records as job market signals improvement

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U.S. equity markets were rallied into the record books Thursday as the U.S. labor market showed signs of improving and earnings season rolled on.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 31055.86 +332.26 +1.08%
SP500 S&P 500 3871.74 +41.57 +1.09%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 13777.743266 +167.20 +1.23%

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 332 points, or 1.08%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite both rallied to fresh records, up 1.09% and 1.23%, respectively.

Encouraging news on the economic front showed initial jobless claims last week fell to 779,000, less than the 830,000 estimate. Continuing claims, meanwhile, dipped to 4.59 million.

On Capitol Hill, Democrats in the House and Senate introduced a resolution Thursday calling on President Biden to take executive action and erase $50,000 of federal student loan debt per individual. Biden has previously pushed back against a cancellation that large in favor of an elimination of $10,000 of student loan debt.

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Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen met with regulators to discuss the wild gyrations in shares of GameStop Corp. and other companies that were the subject of short squeezes induced by Reddit traders.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
GME GAMESTOP CORP 53.50 -38.91 -42.11%

Meanwhile, Apple Inc. is nearing a deal with Hyundai-Kia on an Apple Car, according to reports. Talks are centered on a fully autonomous vehicle built in Georgia with production tentatively scheduled to begin in 2024.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
AAPL APPLE INC. 137.39 +3.45 +2.58%

In earnings, the Clorox Co. boosted its full-year profit and sales forecasts as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to fuel strong demand for its cleaning products.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
CLX CLOROX 191.65 -12.94 -6.32%

Coach handbag maker Tapestry reported sales in its holiday quarter fell 7.7% from a year ago, but the results outpaced analyst expectations. Stronger-than-expected sales were fueled by a surge in online shopping and increased demand for luxury goods in China.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
TPR TAPESTRY INC. 36.18 +1.58 +4.57%

Merck & Co. announced CEO Kenneth Frazier will retire after 30 years at the company. He will be replaced by CFO Robert Davis, but remain on the board of directors as executive chairman. The announcement came alongside the drugmaker’s quarterly results, which fell short of Wall Street expectations on both earnings and sales.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
MRK MERCK & CO. INC. 76.03 -1.29 -1.67%

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil climbed 54 cents to $56.23 per barrel and gold lost $43.30 to $1,797.60 an ounce.

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In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 slipped 0.06% after the Bank of England kept policy on hold while France’s CAC 40 and Germany’s DAX 30 were up 0.82% and 0.91%, respectively.

Asian markets were broadly lower with Japan’s Nikkei 225 falling 1.06%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index declining 0.66% and China’s Shanghai Composite index sliding 0.44%.

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