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S&P 500, Nasdaq Extend Record Streaks, with Boost from Chip

(Reuters) - The S&P 500 and Nasdaq rose on Thursday, extending their streaks of record high closes to six sessions, as chipmaker stocks surged following Qualcomm’s strong financial forecast and investors digested the Federal Reserve’s decision to start reducing its monthly bond purchases.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average posted a slim loss, ending its streak of record closes at four. Declines in shares of banks JPMorgan Chase & Co and Goldman Sachs Group weighed on the blue-chip index.

Financials dropped 1.3%, most among S&P 500 sectors, as U.S. Treasury yields fell, with the market unwinding expectations of quicker Fed rate hikes a day after the central bank signaled it was in no hurry to do so.

“The growth side of the market is seeing more positive results today as they are benefiting from the falling yields that are developing,” said Matthew Miskin, co-chief investment strategist at John Hancock Investment Management.

“The market had been positioning for higher yields in general given the Fed announcement of tapering. As we walked in today, there has been a reversal in that.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 33.35 points, or 0.09%, to 36,124.23, the S&P 500 gained 19.49 points, or 0.42%, to 4,680.06 and the Nasdaq Composite added 128.72 points, or 0.81%, to 15,940.31.

The S&P 500 growth index rose 1.2% while the S&P 500 value index fell 0.5%.

Among S&P 500 sectors, tech and consumer discretionary led the way, both rising about 1.5%.

Qualcomm shares jumped 12.7% as the company forecast better-than-expected profits and revenue for its current quarter on soaring demand for chips used in phones, cars and other internet-connected devices.

The Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index climbed 3.5%, with Nvidia soaring 12%.

Better-than-expected third-quarter earnings have helped lift sentiment for equities. With about 420 companies having reported, S&P 500 earnings are expected to have climbed 41.2% in the third quarter from a year earlier, according to Refinitiv IBES.

“The corporate earnings story remains quite bright,” said Craig Fehr, investment strategist at Edward Jones.

“The market is rewarding companies that are beating and upping their outlook, and the market is punishing companies that are missing their estimates in the quarter and more importantly, perhaps, signaling a more sour outlook.”

Moderna shares tumbled about 18% as the company slashed the 2021 sales forecast for its COVID-19 vaccine by as much as $5 billion, grappling to fill vials and distribute them to meet unprecedented world demand. Moderna shares weighed on the S&P 500 healthcare sector, which fell 0.8%.

Data showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level in nearly 20 months last week, suggesting the economy was regaining momentum. Investors will get a critical view of the economy with the monthly jobs report on Friday.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.12-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.24-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 75 new 52-week highs and five new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 224 new highs and 38 new lows.

About 11.3 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges, above the 10.4 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions.

Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf in New York, Devik Jain and Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Marguerita Choy

Source: Reuters

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