U.S. stock markets closed sharply higher supported by strong economic data indicating faster-than-expected recovery of the U.S. economy from the coronavirus-induced devastations. All the three major stock indexes ended in green.
How Did The Benchmarks Perform?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) surged 1.1% or 373.98 points to close at 33,527.19, reflecting a new closing high. In intraday session, the blue-chip index recorded a fresh all-time high of 33,617.95. Notably, 25 components of the 30-stock index ended in the green while 5 in red.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite finished at 13,705.59, climbing 225.49 points or 1.7% due to strong performance by large-cap stocks. Tesla Inc. TSLA) and Alphabet Inc. GOOGL rallied 4.4% and 4.2%, respectively. Both stocks carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Meanwhile, the S&P 500 jumped 1.4% to end at 4,077.91, marking a new closing high. In intraday trading, the broad-market index touched a record-high at 4,083.42. The Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY), the Communication Services Select Sector SPDR (XLC) and the Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) rose 2.3%, 2.1% and 2.1%, respectively. Notably, ten out of eleven sectors of the benchmark index closed in the green while one in red.
The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) was up 3.4% to 17.91. A total of 10.05 billion shares were traded on Monday, lower than the last 20-session average of 12.62 billion. Advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 1.79-to-1 ratio. On Nasdaq, a 1.50-to-1 ratio favored advancing issues.
Solid Job Data for March
The Department of Labor reported that the U.S. economy added 916,000 nonfarm jobs in March compared with an upwardly revised 468,000 in February. The consensus estimate was 657,000. March’s job addition was the highest since August 2020. Workforce participation rate came in at 61.5% compared with the pre-pandemic level of 63.3% in February 2020.
The unemployment rate declined to 6% in March from 6.2% in February. The real unemployment rate (including discouraged workers and those holding part-time jobs for economic reasons) dropped to 10.7% in March from 11.1% in February. Average hourly wage rate decreased 0.1% in March compared with upwardly revised 0.3% increase in February. The consensus estimate was 0.1%. Average workweek rose marginally to 34.9 from 34.6 in February.
Services PMI Jumps in March
The Institute Supply Management reported that its Services Purchasing Managers’ Index soared to 63.7% in March from 55.3% in February, marking the highest level since the inception of this index in 1997. Notably, any reading above 50% means expansion in services industries. All 18 services industries expanded in March.
The sub-index for new orders skyrocketed to 67.2% in March from 51.9% in February. The sub-index fr employment jumped to 57.2% in March from 52.7% in the previous month. The sub-index for production increased 14 points sequentially to 69.4% in March.
Other Economic Data
Factory orders declined 0.8% in February compared with upwardly revised 2.7% increase in January. The consensus estimate was for a decrease of 0.3%.
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