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US close: Dow, S&P 500 hit fresh highs despite small gains

(Sharecast News) - Wall Street stocks edged higher on Thursday but the Dow and S&P 500 still managed to set new record closing highs, with the latter briefly topping the key psychological mark of 5,000 mark for the first time. The S&P 500 finished just 0.06% higher at a new high of 4,997.91, having risen to a high of 5,000.40 in afternoon trade, as the index set its ninth record close of 2024, having already gained nearly 5% in the year to date.

The Dow rose 0.13% to a fresh closing peak of 38,726.33, while the Nasdaq gained 0.24% to 15,793.71 as it comes ever-nearer to its record closing high of 16,057.44 reached in November 2021.

Commenting on the S&P 500 hitting 5,000, analyst Chris Beauchamp from IG said: "While it might seem outlandish, Dow 40,000 might not be too far behind, especially if the market continues in its present frame of mind.

"Crucially, indices have remained solid despite the latest strong US data and the diminishing chance of a March cut, showing that there is more to this rally than just hopes of a looser policy environment."

Jobless claims fall

On the macro front, Americans lined up for unemployment benefits at a decelerated clip in the week ended 2 February, according to the Labor Department. Initial jobless claims dropped by 9,000 to 218,000 from the prior week's upwardly revised value, slightly below estimates for a reading of 220,000 but firmly above the last two months' average and pointing to a slowing, yet, strong labor market.

"There is no immediate pressure on the Fed to lower rates as desired by the market," said Ryan Brandham, head of Global Capital Markets, North America at Validus Risk Management, following the data release. "The US labour market, and the economy more broadly, continues to demonstrate resilience, giving the Fed some time to decide when the time is right to cut rates."

On another note, wholesale inventories rose 0.4% month-on-month in December, according to the Census Bureau, erasing the prior month's decrease. It marked the first increase in wholesale stocks since November 2022, driven by durable goods, most notably computer equipment and automotive.

Arm shares soar

US-listed shares in Arm Holdings surged by 48% on Thursday after the British semiconductor company reported record revenues for its third quarter, helped by strong demand for AI applications. Arm said third-quarter revenues were up 14% year-on-year at $824m with record royalty revenues and stronger-than-forecast growth in licensing. "From the most complex AI cloud applications to the smallest edge devices, AI on Arm is everywhere," the company said in a statement.

Disney was another high riser, gaining 12% after the entertainment giant smashed quarterly forecasts with earnings per share of $1.22 compared with the 99 cents estimate on the back of a stronger-than-expected streaming performance.

Food manufacturer Kellogg rose after announcing the planned closure of one of its major UK factories in Greater Manchester by the end of 2026.

Cigarettes, vaping and tobacco group Philip Morris declined nearly 3% after posting below-forecast numbers for the fourth quarter on the back of higher costs and weaker-than-expected sales of heated tobacco products.

Investment firm Apollo Global Management gained after it beat estimates with its fourth-quarter numbers, posting revenues of $11.05bn, compared to $4.84bn a year previously.

Meanwhile, PayPal was a notable faller, dropping over 11% after disappointing with its outlook. The payments company beat fourth-quarter revenue expectations but said it didn't expect profits to grow this year.

Dow Jones - Risers

Walt Disney Co. (DIS) $110.54 11.50% McDonald's Corp. (MCD) $291.91 1.60% Chevron Corp. (CVX) $153.94 1.27% Salesforce.Com Inc. (CRM) $292.14 1.08% American Express Co. (AXP) $211.21 1.02% Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) $49.95 0.36% International Business Machines Corporation (CDI) (IBM) $184.50 0.34% Home Depot Inc. (HD) $363.80 0.28% Unitedhealth Group Inc. (UNH) $520.20 0.13% Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) $414.11 0.01%

Dow Jones - Fallers

Visa Inc. (V) $275.78 -1.29% Boeing Co. (BA) $209.25 -1.27% Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) $39.91 -1.26% Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (WBA) $22.54 -1.18% Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) $156.54 -1.00% 3M Co. (MMM) $93.23 -0.68% Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK) $126.62 -0.67% Intel Corp. (INTC) $42.50 -0.65% Apple Inc. (AAPL) $188.32 -0.58% Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) $321.90 -0.49%

S&P 500 - Risers

Ralph Lauren Corp (RL) $171.85 16.79% Walt Disney Co. (DIS) $110.54 11.50% Westrock Company (WRK) $42.82 7.26% News Corp Class B (NWS) $27.01 6.76% Tapestry Inc. (TPR) $42.99 6.54% News Corp Class A (NWSA) $25.84 6.47% Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN) $106.11 6.29% PVH Corp. (PVH) $127.10 6.07% Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV) $32.33 5.17% Intercontinental Exchange Inc (ICE) $134.12 4.72%

S&P 500 - Fallers

Paypal Holdings Inc (PYPL) $56.13 -11.24% Snap On Inc. (SNA) $266.08 -9.67% Everest Group (EG) $354.20 -7.65% Borg Warner Inc. (BWA) $31.48 -6.95% S&P Global Inc Com (SPGI) $436.63 -5.02% FMC Corp. (FMC) $52.05 -4.78% McKesson Corp. (MCK) $493.99 -4.40% O'Reilly Automotive Inc. (ORLY) $1,020.83 -4.33% AutoZone Inc. (AZO) $2,732.75 -3.90% Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) $41.25 -3.76%

Nasdaq 100 - Risers

Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN) $106.11 6.29% Align Technology Inc. (ALGN) $295.00 3.61% Booking Holdings Inc. (BKNG) $3,840.22 3.54% Expedia Group Inc. (EXPE) $159.47 3.30% Synopsys Inc. (SNPS) $570.69 2.96% Cadence Design Systems Inc. (CDNS) $307.36 2.20% Ross Stores Inc. (ROST) $146.06 1.96% Lam Research Corp. (LRCX) $864.36 1.86% Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT) $173.89 1.75% KLA-Tencor Corp. (KLAC) $618.49 1.57%

Nasdaq 100 - Fallers

Paypal Holdings Inc (PYPL) $56.13 -11.24% JD.com, Inc. (JD) $22.05 -4.34% O'Reilly Automotive Inc. (ORLY) $1,020.83 -4.33% Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) $41.25 -3.76% Qurate Retail Inc. (QRTEA) $0.82 -2.49% Baidu Inc. (BIDU) $103.17 -2.02% Biomarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (BMRN) $88.15 -1.68% Liberty Global plc Series C (LBTYK) $20.15 -1.66% DENTSPLY Sirona Inc. (XRAY) $33.15 -1.65% Sirius XM Holdings Inc (SIRI) $4.99 -1.58%

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