The S&P 500 registered its largest one-day percentage gain in about two months on Thursday, with technology shares providing the largest stimulus as equities continued to rebound along with bond yields.
All major sectors advanced at least 1%, and the S&P 500 technology index, which was at the heart of the recent sell-off, was up 2.4%.
The benchmark S&P 500 extended a rebound that began on Wednesday and closed near its high of the day. The index gained 4% from Wednesday’s intraday bottom to Thursday’s close as bargain hunters stepped in to snap up beaten-down shares.
Advanced Micro Devices was up 16.2% after the company launched its second-generation processors and said that it had landed Google and Twitter as customers.
Symantec rose 12.3% on rumors Broadcom was in advanced talks to buy the cybersecurity company’s enterprise business. After the bell, Symantec confirmed the sale.
Economic data signaled a robust labor market as the number of new applications for unemployment benefits fell unexpectedly last week, allaying concerns about the potential for a recession.
Better-than-expected export numbers out of China also helped offset recent U.S.-China trade war worries, while there was also some improvement in the country’s yuan currency, whose slide over the weekend led to Wall Street’s worst day so far this year on Monday.
On the downside, Kraft Heinz fell sharply after it pulled its full year forecast and wrote down the value of several business units by over $1 billion.
Lyft advanced 3.0% after the ride-hailing service raised its annual outlook and hinted at the end of its price war with Uber.
Uber, which reported earnings after the bell and has been a high-profile loser since its market launch this year, rose 8.2% during the session. The company reported revenue that missed consensus, sending its shares down 6.9% after the close.
Approximately 8.08 billion shares changed hands on the major domestic equity indexes on Thursday, as compared to the 7.2 billion share average over the past 20 trading days.
Unemployment Claims Fall
The number of new applications for unemployment benefits fell unexpectedly last week, suggesting the labor market remains strong even as the economy is slowing. According to a report by the Labor Department on Thursday morning, initial claims fell by 8,000 claims to a seasonally adjusted 209,000 claims for the week ended Aug. 3. Data for the prior week was revised to show 2,000 more applications received than previously reported.
Last week’s decline had the number of claims at the lower end of the 193,000-244,000 range for this year. The Labor Department said only claims for Idaho were estimated last week.
The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, edged up by 250 claims to a total of 212,250 claims last week.
Claims will be watched over the coming weeks for signs that deteriorating trade relations between the United States and China, are spilling over to the labor market.
With tensions between the U.S. and China escalating in recent days and recession risks rising, financial markets have fully priced in another rate cut next month. Expectations for a 50-basis-point cut at the Fed’s Sept. 17-18 policy meeting have also risen.
While hiring has slowed, the pace of job gains remains well above the roughly 100,000 needed per month to keep up with growth in the working-age population.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by 164,000 jobs in July, down from 193,000 in June. Job growth over the last three months averaged 140,000 per month, the lowest in nearly two years, compared to 223,000 in 2018. The moderation in employment growth partly reflects a shortage of workers.
The economy grew at a 2.1% annualized rate in the second quarter, slowing from the first quarter’s brisk 3.1% pace. Growth is seen below a 2.0% rate in the July-September quarter.
Thursday’s claims report also showed the number of people receiving benefits after an initial week of aid dropped 15,000 to 1.68 million for the week ended July 27. The four-week moving average of the so-called continuing claims fell 11,000 to 1.69 million.