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S&P 500 Notches New All-Time High as Big Tech, Tesla Shine

Stock MarketsOct 21, 2021 21:16
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By Yasin Ebrahim – The S&P 500 closed at record highs Thursday, as gains in big tech and a Tesla-fueled climb in consumer discretionary sparked an intraday turnaround on Wall Street. 

The S&P 500 rose 0.3% to close at a record high of 4,549.78 eclipsing the previous record of 4,536.95, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.02%, or 6 points, and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.6%.

Big tech shrugged off an intraday malaise and rising Treasury yields, the foe of growth stocks, supporting a rebound in the broader market from intraday session lows. (NASDAQ:AMZN), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), and Microsoft  (NASDAQ:MSFT) closed higher, while Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) were flat.

IBM (NYSE:IBM), however, slumped nearly 9% after third-quarter revenue fell short of expectations amid a weakness in its legacy technology services business.

Energy stocks threatened to spoil the record-setting day on Wall Street, falling about 2% after oil prices reversed course as investors appeared to take profit on prices.

Baker Hughes (NYSE:BKR), Halliburton (NYSE:HAL), Kinder Morgan (NYSE:KMI) were down sharply, with the latter down more than 6% following quarterly results a day earlier that surprised to the upside.

Other cyclical sectors including financials and materials were also in the red despite mostly upbeat data on the economy.

US initial jobless claims fell to 290,000 in the week ended Oct. 16 from an upwardly revised 296,000 the prior week, compared with economists' expectations for an increase to 300,000.

"With labor supply so tight and job openings set to rebound to new record highs after a brief Delta dip, the bar for layoffs is rising," Pantheon Macroeconomics said in a note. "It’s a decent bet, we think, that claims return to their pre-Covid lows, about 210K, around the turn of the year."

Supply-chain disruptions weighed on manufacturing activity as the regional Philly Fed index slowed to a reading of 23.8 in October from 30.7 in September, missing estimates of 25.0.

But rising consumer discretionary stocks helped the broader market cover losses, with Tesla in the driver's seat.

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) accelerated 3% after Wall Street cheered the automaker's record quarter, which topped analysts' estimates on both the top and bottom lines, underpinned by rising margins.

"Auto gross margin was 30%+ and roughly 250 bps ahead of Street expectations which highlights the massive leverage in the Tesla story now starting to take hold with Giga China front and center…," Wedbush said in a note as it upgraded its price target on the stock to $1,100 from $1,000.

Tractor Supply (NASDAQ:TSCO) also supported consumer discretionary stocks after delivering better-than-expected quarter results, led by a double-digit climb in comparable store sales.

Tractor Supply reported fiscal Q3 EPS of $1.95, up from $1.62 a year earlier, and well ahead of Wall Street estimate of $1.67. Its shares were up more than 4%.

S&P 500 Notches New All-Time High as Big Tech, Tesla Shine

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