Stock Market Story: Tech Rallies Despite Cisco

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock markets rallied into the close Thursday, absent of any negative geopolitical headlines, and as economic prospects continued to look brighter and brighter for many investors. 

The S&P 500 (SPY) rose 0.43% to 1,955.18. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) increased 0.37% to 16,713.58. The Nasdaq (QQQ) advanced 0.43% to 4,453. The tech sector finished in the green despite the heavily-weighted fallout from Cisco's (CSCO) downsizing plans.

After a strong run-up for four sessions, the S&P 500 looks like it could bump against the short-term support/resistance area of 1,950, according to Schaeffer's Investment Research's senior equity analyst Joe Bell. But the analyst said weekly and daily charts are not signaling any overbought conditions.

"I expect that continued, sustained strong economic data will make itself evident that the Fed needs to step aside," said Doug Cote, chief market strategist at Voya Investment Management. Cote's expecting strong August retail sales on the back of a robust back-to-school shopping season amid signs of fewer layoffs and increasing wealth in the U.S.

The markets began the day with a knee-jerk reaction to the gain in initial jobless claims last week. But the losses were short-lived in light of the very marginal increase of the four-week moving average to 295,750, a level consistent with low levels of layoffs.

Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared to offer some conciliatory remarks to Western counterparts Thursday after saying overnight that he would do everything in his power to end the conflict in Ukraine. Meanwhile the Gaza ceasefire remained in force after Israeli and Palestinian negotiators agreed to a five-day extension of the truce in the region.

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