The major domestic equity indexes were higher Thursday with each ending the session up 1 percent or higher, boosted by solid earnings results and a rebound in technology stocks as bond yields pulled back.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq snapped a five-day losing streak while the S&P technology index booked its first up day in six sessions.
Facebook rose 9.1 percent after posting increased earnings, which appeared to calm worries about the fallout from its use of consumer data.
Advanced Micro Devices Inc and Qualcomm were up 13.7 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively, after quarterly results beat Wall Street estimates and alleviated worries over softening smartphone demand.
Their advances helped lift the Philadelphia Semiconductor index 2.1 percent, breaking its six-day losing streak and at the close of its best day in three weeks.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury closed below the 3 percent level as buyers emerged following a sell-off fueled by worries over growing U.S. debt issuance and rising costs.
So far, 45 percent of S&P 500 companies have reported first-quarter earnings, with 79.7 percent beating consensus estimates. Analysts see 23.1 percent earnings growth for the quarter, based on a blend of actual and estimated results.
Amazon ended the trading day up more than 6 percent in after-market trading after the online retailer reported a 43 percent surge in first-quarter revenue.
General Motors edged up 0.4 percent after the automaker reported a production drop of its high-margin pickup trucks, despite posting higher-than-expected profit.
United Parcel Service rose 4.3 percent after the world’s largest package delivery company defied cost and weather headwinds to post higher first-quarter profit and strong volumes.
Visa Inc also helped lift the tech sector, advancing 4.8 percent following the payments network’s better-than-expected profit and earnings forecast raise.
AT&T fell 6.0 percent. It reported a loss of subscribers from its pay TV business.
Union Pacific fell 2.9 percent. The largest domestic railroad operator cautioned on a key operating metric, helping send the Dow Jones Transportation Average down 0.9 percent.
In economic news, new orders for durable goods unexpectedly dropped in March as demand for machinery registered its biggest decline in more than two years, according to the Commerce Department.
However, the Labor Department reported initial claims for unemployment fell to their lowest level since 1969, suggesting the labor market is at or near full employment.
Approximately 6.74 billion shares changed hands on the major domestic equity exchanges, as compared to the 6.67 billion-share average over the past 20 trading days.
Day’s Economic News
New capital goods orders were lower during March, weighed down by the largest decline in demand for machinery in nearly two years. The decline in shipments cemented expectations that business spending on equipment slowed in the first quarter.
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell to its lowest level in more than 48 years last week and our trade deficit narrowed sharply in March amid strong export growth.
The Commerce Department reported that orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, was down 0.1 percent last month. Data for February was revised to show these so-called core capital goods increasing 0.9 percent instead of the previously reported 1.4 percent jump. Core capital goods orders increased 6.5 percent on a year-on-year basis.
Last month, orders for machinery fell 1.7 percent, the largest decline since April 2016, after a gain of 0.3 percent in February. There were, however, increases in orders of primary metals, computers and electronic products, fabricated metals and electrical equipment, appliances and components.
Overall orders for durable goods, items ranging from toasters to aircraft that are meant to last three years or more, increased 2.6 percent in March as demand for transportation equipment rose 7.6 percent. That followed a 3.5 percent surge in durable goods orders in February.
Shipments of core capital goods declined 0.7 percent last month after a downwardly revised 1.0 percent increase in February. Core capital goods shipments are used to calculate equipment spending in the government’s gross domestic product measurement.
They were previously reported to have vaulted 1.4 percent in February. Business spending on equipment likely cooled in the first quarter after double-digit growth in the second half of 2017. The moderation in equipment investment is expected to have combined with a sharp slowdown in consumer spending to restrain economic growth in the first quarter.
According to a Reuters survey of economists, GDP growth likely slowed to a 2.0 percent annualized rate in the first three months of the year. The economy grew at a 2.9 percent pace in the fourth quarter. The government will publish its advance estimate of first-quarter GDP on Friday.
The anticipated slowdown in economic growth is likely to be temporary against the backdrop of a robust labor market that is expected to underpin consumer spending. And the economy is also expected to benefit from the $1.5 trillion income tax cut package as well as increased government spending, which should also support business investment.
In a separate report on Thursday, the Labor Department reported that initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 209,000 for the week ended April 21, the lowest level since December 1969.
The labor market is near or at full employment. The unemployment rate is at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent, not far from the Federal Reserve’s forecast of 3.8 percent by the end of this year.
A third report from the Commerce Department showed the goods trade deficit fell 10.3 percent to $68.0 billion in March. Exports rose $3.4 billion to $140.1 billion last month, reflecting a strengthening global economy and weak U.S. dollar. Imports fell $4.4 billion to $208.1 billion in March.
The department also reported that wholesale inventories rose 0.5 percent last month. Retail inventories, however, fell 0.4 percent. The goods trade deficit and inventory data had a marginal impact on first-quarter GDP estimates.