Techs Propel Stocks to 5th Straight Day of Gains

Stocks rose on Thursday, led by tech shares, as traders kept an eye on Washington for clues on a new coronavirus stimulus package and pored over better-than-expected unemployment data.

The Dow Jones Industrials strode ahead 185.46 points to 27,386.98

The S&P 500 gained 21.39 points to 3,349.16. Both the Dow and S&P 500 posted five-day winning streaks. The S&P 500 also closed just 1.3% below its Feb. 19 record.

The NASDAQ surged 109.67 points, or 1%, to add to Wednesday’s record high at 11,108.07, the first time the tech-heavy index closed above the 11,000 mark. It also ran the index’s win streak to seven sessions.

Facebook jumped more than 6% and Apple shares climbed 3.5%. Netflix advanced 1.4%. Amazon and Microsoft rose 0.6% and 1.6%, respectively. These stocks have contributed a massive share of the broader market’s gains off the March 23 low and are all handily outperforming the S&P 500.

Thursday’s moves also come as lawmakers struggle to reach a deal on a new coronavirus relief package. The White House appeared to yield slightly on its opposition to continued federal support for unemployment benefits. The Trump team offered to extend extra federal unemployment insurance into December at $400 per week.

The U.S. Labor Department said initial jobless claims for the week ending Aug. 1 totaled 1.186 million. That’s well below a Dow Jones estimate of 1.423 million and the lowest claims levels since the pandemic began.

The data came a day before the government’s monthly non-farm payrolls report, which is expected to show jobs growth of 1.264 million for July.

Prices for the 10-Year Treasury moved slightly ahead, dropping yields to 0.54% from Wednesday’s 0.55%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices subtracted 20 cents to $41.99 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices leaped $25.90 to $2,075.20 U.S. an ounce.