Finance News

S&P 500 and Dow hit new data as shares finish the day increased

US stocks rose Thursday, pushing both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 to new records during an otherwise tame session.

The Dow rose 14.88 points to 35,499.85, a record close for the blue chip index. The S&P 500 climbed 0.3% to 4,460.83, also a record. The Nasdaq Composite fared better, up 0.3% to end the day at 14,816.26.

Among the S&P sectors, healthcare and technology sectors outperformed, growing around 0.8% and 0.6% respectively, while energy, industrials and materials stocks lagged. Salesforce and Apple were the top performing stocks in the Dow, while Home Depot and Visa slipped.

"Despite the relatively calm surface, there is still some twists and turns beneath the surface of the S&P 500 today," wrote Goldman Sachs analyst Chris Hussey.

"Industrials, Materials, and Energy led the S&P 500 through the last few sessions, aided in part by hopes for higher infrastructure spending, but are the worst performers today," he added. "Conversely, we're seeing a rotation back into long-dated stocks, including Tech, Healthcare and Comm Services."

The Department of Labor reported Thursday morning that initial jobless claims fell slightly last week as the US labor market recovers from last year's recession. There were 375,000 applications last week, which is estimates. The previous reading was 385,000 applications, but has been revised to 387,000.

The prices US manufacturers and other companies pay for labor, raw materials and other goods rose again in July. The government announced that its producer price index, excluding volatile food, trade services and energy components, rose 0.9% last month, up from a forecast of 0.5%.

The update to producer price inflation came a day after the Ministry of Labor announced that consumer prices rose 5.4% year-over-year and 0.5% month-on-month in July. However, core inflation rose by just 0.3% in July, below the forecast increase of 0.4%.

"Inflation has at least taken a break," said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for the Commonwealth Financial Network. "For both the headlines and the core figures, the monthly and annual figures were stable or lower than in the previous month. Based on these data, inflation has certainly not risen unstoppably."

"The history of inflation is more about isolated components than general price increases, and even those components are showing signs of peaking," he added. "If we look at the numbers, inflation is above where it was but showing signs of a rollover and a return to more comfortable levels."

Micron stock closed 6.3% lower after Morgan Stanley predicted a slowdown in the memory chip market and downgraded the stock.

Disney shares gained nearly 0.7%. The theme park and entertainment giant released quarterly results on Thursday after the market closed. The company beat estimates in both profit and sales.

– CNBC's Michael Bloom contributed to the coverage.

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