Wall Street closes firmer ahead of Good Friday weekend

by Jonathan Adams
Wall Street

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.52% at 33,153.21, while the S&P 500 gained 1.18% to 4,019.87 and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.76% to 13,480.10

Wall Street stocks closed in the green on Thursday, with the S&P 500 finishing above 4,000 for the first time in its history ahead of the Good Friday weekend.

At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.52% at 33,153.21, while the S&P 500 gained 1.18% to 4,019.87 and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.76% to 13,480.10.

The Dow closed 171.66 points higher on Thursday, cutting into losses recorded in the previous session following the rollout of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan.

Biden’s multi-trillion dollar proposal, which includes spending on roads and bridges, green energy and water system upgrades, was still in focus after the open on Thursday.

With the American Rescue Plan, we’re meeting immediate emergencies. Now it’s time to rebuild, said Biden.

This week’s jobless claims report from the Department of Labor was also firmly in focus after unexpectedly rising last week.

According to the Labor Department, initial claims for state unemployment benefits totalled a seasonally adjusted 719,000 for the week ended 27 March, up from the previous week’s figures of 658,000 – the lowest since the middle of March 2020.

However, job cuts data from ChallengerGray&Christmas published earlier in the morning dropped in March, down from 34,531 in February to 30,603.

Elsewhere, the ISM’s manufacturing PMI registered 64.7% in March, a rise of 3.9 points month-on-month, indicating expansion in the overall US economy for a tenth month in a row following a contraction in April 2020.

IHS Markit’s manufacturing PMI also rose to a final figure of 59.1 in March from 58.6 in February.

Lastly, construction spending dropped in February, likely due to a cold weather in parts of the US during the month.

According to the Commerce Department, construction spending decreased 0.8%, while data for January was revised down to show construction outlays increasing 1.2% instead of 1.7% as previously reported.

Micron Technology advanced 4.76% after beating earnings expectations overnight, and Western Digital gained 6.92%, after the Wall Street Journal revealed the pair was in talks to acquire Japanese semiconductor firm Kioxia for nearly $30.0bn.

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