U.S. stocks rose on Thursday, following a three-day winning streak, as investors assessed a new batch of corporate earnings and economic data.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 220 points. The S&P 500 climbed 0.5%, supported by energy and financials. The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.5%.
A better-than-expected jobless claims report helped boost sentiment. First-time claims for unemployment insurance totaled 779,000 for the week ended Jan. 30, below the 830,000 estimate from economists surveyed by Dow Jones.
Thursday’s labor market data showed “further momentum” in the economic recovery, “driving another blast of ‘risk-on’ into equities,” Charlie McElligott, equity derivatives strategist at Nomura, said in a note.
Shares of EBay jumped more than 10% in early trading after beating on both the top and bottom lines and issuing a rosier-than-expected forecast for the first quarter.
Apple rose 0.6% after CNBC reported that it is close to finalizing a deal with Hyundai-Kia to produce driverless cars. News that the two may be close to a deal comes after Hyundai said in January that it was in preliminary talks with the iPhone maker to develop a car.
The moves on Wall Street followed three straight positive sessions for the major averages. So far this week, the blue-chip Dow has gained 2.5%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq have risen 3.1% and 4.1%, respectively.
On the stimulus front, Democrats are moving forward with President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief proposal. Republicans have countered with a more modest $618 billion package, which includes new stimulus checks of $1,000 per person.
The economic recovery and market performance have tracked the severity of Covid-19 in the U.S., with some strategists saying the rollout of vaccines could lead to higher interest rates if not outperformance in cyclical or bank stocks.
“Covid vaccine sentiment is still very low. That will improve as investors understand that vaccines will give you either 1) immunity or 2) mild reaction (severity low),” Evercore ISI strategist Dennis DeBusschere wrote in an email on Wednesday.
“As investors and society at large realize low severity is really important, vaccine sentiment will improve and [Treasury] yields will have another gap higher,” he added.