S&P 500 ends at another record on jobs optimism

The S&P 500 ended at a record for the sixth straight session on Thursday as US stocks continued to rally as the reopening accelerates and economic data generally improves.

All three major indices finished higher to open the second half of 2021 following reports showing a drop in jobless claims and continued expansion of the manufacturing sector, albeit at a slower pace.

As the markets were closing, the International Monetary Fund upgraded its estimate for US growth in 2021 to seven percent, saying the world’s biggest economy had enjoyed a “remarkable recovery.”

The Dow Jones gained 0.4 percent to 34,633.

The S&P 500 jumped 0.5 percent to 4,319, while the Nasdaq advanced added 0.1 percent at 14,522.

New applications for unemployment benefits fell last week to 364,000, the lowest since March 14, 2020 when the pandemic lockdowns began.

The report comes ahead of Friday’s government jobs report for June. Analysts expect the United States added 725,000 jobs and that unemployment fell to 5.7 percent from 5.8 percent.

Analysts say a very strong jobs report on Friday could boost speculation the Federal Reserve will accelerate plans to tighten monetary policy.

Among individual companies, Walgreens Boots tumbled 7.4 percent despite reporting better-than-expected quarterly results.

Analysts said the drop likely reflects concerns about increased spending on technology and disappointment that the drugstore chain did not raise its forecast more. (AFP)