Following the strong upward move seen over the course of the previous session, stocks turned in a relatively lackluster performance during trading on Thursday. Despite the choppy trading, the S&P 500 and the Dow reached new record closing highs.
The major averages all finished the day modestly higher. The Dow inched up 48.97 points or 0.1 percent to 38,726.33, the Nasdaq rose 37.07 points or 0.2 percent to 15,793.71 and the S&P 500 inched up 2.85 points or 0.1 percent to 4,997.91.
The choppy trading on Wall Street came as traders expressed some uncertainty about whether the markets can sustain their recent upward trend.
The S&P 500 reached an intraday peak slightly above 5,000 in late-day trading but pulled back to close just below what could prove to be a key psychological level for the broad market index.
Despite the lackluster performance by the broader markets, shares of Arm Holdings (ARM) skyrocketed by 47.9 percent after the chipmaker reported better than expected fiscal third quarter results and provided upbeat guidance for the current quarter.
Entertainment giant Disney (DIS) also soared by 11.5 percent after reporting better than expected fiscal first quarter earnings, boosting its dividend and providing an upbeat forecast.
On the other hand, shares of PayPal (PYPL) plunged by 11.2 percent after the online payments company reported fourth quarter results that exceeded estimates but provided a disappointing forecast.
Traders largely shrugged off a Labor Department report showing first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell by more than expected in the week ended February 3rd.
The report said initial jobless claims slipped to 218,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week’s upwardly revised level of 227,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 220,000 from the 224,000 originally reported for the previous week.
Reflecting the lackluster performance by the broader markets, most of the major sectors showed only modest moves on the day.
Semiconductor stocks saw significant strength on the heels of Arm’s strong results, however, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index climbing by 1.6 percent.
Considerable strength also emerged among airline stocks, as reflected by the 1.3 percent gain posted by the NYSE Arca Airline Index.
Oil service and computer hardware stocks also saw notable strength, while tobacco stocks moved to the downside on the day.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in another mixed performance during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index surged by 2.1 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slumped by 1.3 percent.
The major European markets have also turned mixed on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.2 percent, the German DAX Index is up by 0.4 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.8 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries saw further downside after ending the previous session modestly lower. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, climbed 6.0 basis points at 4.170 percent.
A lack of major U.S. economic data may lead to another choppy trading session on Friday ahead of the release of several key reports next week.
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