S&P 500, Nasdaq slip after jobless claims rise

  • Weekly jobless claims rise in line with estimates
  • Moderna, Pfizer, as FDA approves updated COVID boosters
  • Exxon rises after increasing buyback program
  • Indexes rose: Dow 0.55%, S&P 0.75%, Nasdaq 1.13%

Dec 8 (Reuters) – The S&P 500 (.SPX) ended higher on Thursday, snapping a five-session losing streak as investors interpreted data showing a rise in weekly jobless claims as a sign that the pace of interest rate hikes may soon slow.

Wall Street’s major indexes have been under pressure in recent days, with the S&P 500 losing 3.6% since early December on expectations of a longer rate hike cycle and a bearish economic outlook from some top executives.

That kind of thinking also weighed on the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC), which posted four straight losing sessions before the tech-heavy index advanced on Thursday.

Stocks rose as investors cheered data showing that the number of Americans filing for jobless benefits rose moderately last week, while jobless rolls reached a 10-month high toward the end of November.

The report came after data last Friday that showed US employers hired more workers and raised wages more than expected in November, raising fears that the Fed will stick to its aggressive stance to tame decades of high inflation.

Markets have been hit by data releases in recent days, with investors losing confidence ahead of the Federal Reserve’s guidance on interest rates next week.

That kind of behavior means Friday’s producer price index and the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment survey will dictate whether Wall Street can rally on Thursday.

“The market has to adjust to the fact that we’re moving from a stimulus-driven economy — both fiscal and monetary — to a fundamentals-driven economy, and we’re struggling with that right now,” Willie Angell said. Market Strategist at Ziegler Capital Management.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) rose 183.56 points, or 0.55%, to 33,781.48; The S&P 500 (.SPX) gained 29.59 points, or 0.75%, to end at 3,963.51; and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) added 123.45 points, or 1.13%, to 11,082.00.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 7, 2022. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Nine of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors advanced, led by a 1.6% gain in technology stocks (.SPLRCT).

Most mega-cap technology and growth stocks won. Apple Inc ( AAPL.O ), Nvidia Corp ( NVDA.O ) and Amazon.com Inc ( AMZN.O ) rose between 1.2% and 6.5%.

Microsoft Corp ( MSFT.O ) rose 1.2% after the Federal Trade Commission gave up some intraday gains after a complaint aimed at blocking the tech giant’s $69 billion bid to buy Activision Blizzard Inc. The “Call of Duty” game maker closed down 1.5%.

Exxon Mobil Corp ( XOM.N ) gained 0.7% after announcing it would expand a $30 billion share buyback program, but the energy index ( .SPNY ) was the exception, down 0.5%. The sector has been under pressure in recent sessions as commodity prices have fallen: US crude is now nearing its early 2022 level.

Meanwhile, Moderna Inc ( MRNA.O ) advanced 3.2% after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the vaccine maker’s COVID-19 shots targeting both the original coronavirus and its Omicron sub-variants for use in six-month-old children.

The regulator also approved similar guidance for fellow COVID vaccine maker Pfizer Inc ( PFE.N ), which rose 3.1% and its U.S.-listed partner BioNTech, which gained 5.6%.

Rent the Runway Inc ( RENT.O ) posted its biggest one-day gain, surging 74.3% after the clothing rental firm raised its 2022 revenue forecast.

The stock traded 10.07 billion shares over the past 20 trading days, compared to an average of 10.90 billion shares for the full session.

The S&P 500 recorded 15 new 52-week highs and three new lows; The Nasdaq Composite recorded 82 new highs and 232 new lows.

Reporting by Shubham Batra, Ankika Biswas, Johann M Cherian in Bengaluru and David French in New York; Edited by Vinay Dwivedi, Sriraj Kalluvila, Anil D’Silva and Richard Chang

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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