Stocks rallied to big gains on Thursday, snapping a 3-day losing streak as Wall Street reacted the Labor Depratment’s weekly jobless claims data.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 ended 0.81 percent higher to 1,795.85, closing the day within inches of the 1,800 mark, while the Dow was 0.69 percent higher for a close at 16,009.99 points. The NASDAQ made the biggest jump, adding 1.22 percent and finishing at 3,969.15 points.
After renewed fears the previous day about an earlier-than-expected reduction of Federal stimulus spending, the Department of Labor released its weekly report on initial jobless claims, indicating that for the week ended November 16, the amount of persons filing for first-time jobless benefits dropped by 21,000, far greater than had been expected.
The S&P 500 rose with help from tech stocks, with Micron Technology (MU) and Sprint Nextel (S) posting the largest percentage gains on the day on some of the heaviest trading. With mobile firmly planted at the center of the market for the foreseeable future, new expert contributor Jeff Kagan weighs the prospects for and potential impact of wearable technology in 2014.
On the other end of the benchmark index, discount retailer Dollar Tree (DLTR) dropped over 4 percent after its earnings report for the recently-ended third quarter showed year-over-year improvements in both sales and profits, but saw the company missing projections on both top and bottom lines.
Financial stocks were perched atop the Dow, with JPMorgan Chase (JPM) , American Express (X) and Visa Inc. (V) ending the day substantially higher. Switzerland’s two largest banks, UBS AG (UBS) and Credit Suisse (CS) were more or less flat after announcing that they would be creating domestic non-investment banks in order to prevent taxpayer-funded bailouts in the event of another financial crisis.
On the NASDAQ, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) was up almost 14 percent by the closing bell after releasing earnings for the recently ended fiscal Q4 that showed the company handily beating expectations on both top and bottom lines. The stock jumped even though celebrity hedge fund manager David Einhorn rekindled his dispute with the single-cup brewer by accusing it of cooking its books.
Otherwise, tech shares gained the most on the heaviest trading on the NASDAQ on Thursday, with social media giant Facebook (FB) ending higher, along with Groupon (GRPN) and Yahoo! (YHOO) . With social media companies becoming ever more responsible for driving tech, Equities.com’s Joel Anderson asks if instant messaging service Snapchat is really worth the $4 billion buyout it was offered by Facebook last week.
Oncolytics Biotech (ONCY) was one of the exchange’s worst performers, shedding nearly 23 percent despite data from clinical trials showing that one of the company’s cancer treatments resulted in improved survival rates in patients.
With fears of a taper shifting quickly to the back-burner, for the day at least, gold futures for Dec. 13 delivery were off by about 1.4 percent. Be sure to catch our latest interview with Casey Research’s Bud Conrad about why now is the time to get into yellow metal.
In other commodities news, West Texas crude futures were up almost 1.5 percent to finish off the day. While increased production will lift the US to the spot of the world’s top driller of oil and gas by 2015, we explore how sustainable the much-heralded “shale boom” actually is.