S&P Explodes to New 5-Mo. High

The S&P 500 rose to its highest level in five months on Thursday as better-than-expected Meta results further improved sentiment around technology shares, which led the market lower last year.

The Dow Jones Industrials lost 39.02 points, however, to close Thursday at 34,053.94. The major index was dragged lower by Merck shares after the pharmaceutical firm issued a weak outlook in its latest earnings results, despite beating estimates on the top and bottom lines.

The S&P 500 gained 60.55 points, or 1.5%, to 4,179.76.

The NASDAQ Composite spiked 384.5 points, or 3.7%, to 12,200.82.

The gains come ahead of a trio of Big Tech results after the bell in Apple, Amazon and Alphabet.

Meta surged about 23% in its best day since 2013 after reporting a fourth-quarter beat on revenue and announcing a $40-billion stock buyback. That helped investors look past losses in the business unit overseeing the metaverse.

Other mega-cap tech stocks rose on the back of those results. Shares of Google-parent Alphabet were up nearly 7.3%, while Amazon jumped about 7.4. Apple shares gained 3.7%.

Tech stocks have outperformed in 2023, buoyed by recent signals of cooling inflation that investors expect could lead to a pause from the Federal Reserve in its aggressive rate hiking campaign. The S&P 500 information technology sector is up more than 13% this year after a decline of more than 28% last year.

Prices for the 10-year Treasury heightened, reducing yields to 3.39% from Wednesday’s 3.42%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices dipped 64 cents to $75.77 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices sagged $16.30 to $1,926.50 U.S. an ounce.