S&P 500, Nasdaq hit record highs as stimulus hopes outweigh dire jobs report

By Devik Jain and Medha Singh (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq scaled new highs on Friday, as hopes of more economic stimulus to ride out a pandemic-led downturn eclipsed concerns over a significant loss of pace in a labour market recovery. The U.S. government's employment report showed the economy shed jobs for the first time in eight months in December as the country buckled under an onslaught of COVID-19 infections.

Reuters January 09, 2021 01:05:39 IST
S&P 500, Nasdaq hit record highs as stimulus hopes outweigh dire jobs report

SP 500 Nasdaq hit record highs as stimulus hopes outweigh dire jobs report

By Devik Jain and Medha Singh

(Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq scaled new highs on Friday, as hopes of more economic stimulus to ride out a pandemic-led downturn eclipsed concerns over a significant loss of pace in a labour market recovery.

The U.S. government's employment report showed the economy shed jobs for the first time in eight months in December as the country buckled under an onslaught of COVID-19 infections.

"We have the solution to the virus and as we get that solution out into the country and shots into people's arms, I don't think (jobs report) would be a real headwind," said Ross Mayfield, investment strategy analyst at Baird.

A backstop of nearly $900 billion in stimulus approved by the government last week, positive vaccine data and expectations of a bigger fiscal package and infrastructure spending under Democratic-led U.S. Congress have pushed Wall Street's main indexes to all-time highs.

"The party in control is going to want to inject a lot of stimulus and spending into the economy which in the near-term will be good for economic growth and the market is pleased with the result," Mayfield said.

Six of the 11 major S&P sectors rose, with healthcare and consumer discretionary hitting record highs.

Economy-linked financials, materials and industrials which have outperformed their peers and scaled record levels earlier this week, slipped on Friday.

The blue-chip Dow eased from its record level, weighed down by heavyweights Goldman Sachs and 3M Co, but was still set for its fourth straight weekly gain.

The S&P 500 closed above 3,800 points for the first time on Thursday, while the Nasdaq is tracking its best weekly gain in four.

Some Wall Street bankers, however, expect a pullback in the near-term as exuberance from unprecedented monetary and fiscal stimulus have led to "frothy" asset prices.

Market participants looked past mounting calls among congressional Democrats for impeaching President Donald Trump for a second time, two days after his false claims of election fraud helped encourage a mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol.

At 11:36 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 80.08 points, or 0.26%, to 30,961.05, the S&P 500 gained 6.19 points, or 0.16%, to 3,809.89 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 78.76 points, or 0.60%, to 13,146.27.

Electric car-maker Tesla Inc's shares jumped 7%, taking its market capitalization to more than $800 billion for the first time ever.

Micron Technology Inc gained 0.2% after the chipmaker forecast second-quarter revenue above estimates, as a global shift to remote work and a recent uptick in 5G smartphone adoption drove demand for its chips.

U.S.-listed shares of Baidu Inc gained 13% on plans to form a company to make smart electric vehicles, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers by a 1-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P 500 posted 82 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 509 new highs and 16 new lows.

(Reporting by Devik Jain and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Maju Samuel)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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