Better-than-expected data on the jobs front Thursday kept the wheels rolling on the rotation trade – from growth stocks to cyclical and value plays – that has been in high gear all week.
But a late-day push led not just to new highs in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, but a sniff of positive territory for the recently maligned Nasdaq Composite.
The Labor Department said this morning that new unemployment filings declined to 498,000 for the week ended May 1. Not only was that 92,000 claims fewer than the week prior, but it also was significantly below analysts’ consensus expectations for 538,000 filings.
The best-performing sectors Thursday included safe havens such as consumer staples and utilities, and also financials.
But the Dow’s 0.9% gain to a record 34,548 was led by value-oriented tech stocks Cisco Systems (CSCO, +2.6%) and International Business Machines (IBM, +2.2%). Meanwhile, the Nasdaq (+0.4% to 13,632), which was staring at a fifth consecutive decline for most of the day, was helped into the black courtesy of a late-day broader-market rally.
Other action in the stock market today:
- The S&P 500 gained 0.8% to 4,201.
- The small-cap Russell 2000 was breakeven 2,241.
- Etsy (ETSY, -14.6%) took a big hit after its earnings report. The online marketplace reported first-quarter profit and revenue above estimates, but in a letter to investors, CEO Josh Silverman warned of a “deceleration” in current-quarter gross merchandise sales.
- Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH, -6.8%) also declined in reaction to earnings. The cruise operator said its first-quarter loss was wider than anticipated and revenue fell more drastically than expected. And while the company has planned on resuming operations in July, NCLH CEO Frank Del Rio cautioned “the path forward is a bit rockier and a bit steeper than originally expected,” after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new reopening guidelines yesterday for cruise operators.
- U.S. crude oil futures shed 1.4% to settle at $64.71 per barrel.
- Gold futures jumped 1.8% to finish at $1,815.70 an ounce. A weaker U.S. dollar helped boost the commodity to its highest settlement since mid-February.
- The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) declined by 4.0% to 18.39.
- Bitcoin prices declined 1.6% to $56,166.30. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)
Abundant Action in the Digital Realm
The major stock indexes have mostly been stuck in a grind of small advances and declines for weeks, but you don’t have to look too far afield for flashier fireworks. The cryptocurrency space continues to grow – and in a couple of cases, grow weirder.
For instance, Dogecoin – the digital coin that was quite literally created as a joke – has rocketed 88% higher over the past week and 6,507% year-to-date, even despite today’s 7% spill in the Shiba Inu-inspired token. Whether investors should take seriously the cryptocurrency, which now accounts for $75 billion in investor assets, is up for intense debate; many experts prefer other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin that have wider moats and clearer utility.
But digital investing trends aren’t constrained to just currencies – in the past few months, we’ve also seen rapidly rising interest in secure digital collectibles (think images, video and music) called NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, with one such NFT selling for more than $69 million at a Christie’s auction in March.
If you’re curious about this latest craze, read on as we catch you up on the basics of NFTs.