This unstoppable bull market just keeps smashing new records. All benchmark indexes ended the session at closing highs on Thursday, Oct. 5, each of the big three not for their first time this week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.50%, or 113 points, to secure a new record close. The blue-chip index ended its seventh straight day in the green.
The S&P 500 increased 0.56% and also closed at a new record high. The index has risen for eight sessions, its longest streak since 2013. Its sixth straight record close also marks the longest record-making streak since 1997.
The Nasdaq gained 0.78%. This was its fifth straight record close in a row.
Gains were small at the beginning of the day but momentum grew stronger and increases firmer by the middle of the session. Even so, volatility remained at its lowest level in decades. The CBOE Volatility Index, otherwise known as the 'fear index,' declined by 4% to 9.19, its lowest level ever.
Wall Street was also looking ahead to the nonfarm payrolls report out on Friday, Oct. 6. The string of recent hurricanes could affect the official U.S. jobs report. Economists surveyed by FactSet anticipate 80,000 jobs to have been added to the U.S. economy in September, a sharp slowdown from the 156,000 jobs added in August. The measure has not fallen below the 100,000 mark since March and has only been below that threshold four times in the past five years.
"This number more than any number this year might be one to discount and not pay too much attention," U.S. Bank Wealth Management's Jeff Kravetz told TheStreet. "It's not going to be a very good number because of all the hurricane-related issues... We're not really paying that much attention to that just because it's just one point in a really long data series."
Weekly jobless claims in the U.S. saw a sharp decline in the past week, according to the Labor Department. The number of new claims for unemployment benefits fell by 12,000 to 260,000. The less volatile four-week claims average dropped 9,500 to 268,250.
Claims in recent weeks have shown the initial impact of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. The number of new applications for unemployment benefits had seen an uptick.
The U.S. trade deficit dropped in August to its lowest level in 11 months, falling by 2.7% to $42.4 billion. Imports slipped 0.1% to $237.7 billion, while exports increased by 0.4% to $195.3 billion.
Factory orders rose in August, partially offsetting a steep decline in July. New orders for manufactured goods increased 1.2%, according to the Census Bureau. The measure has risen in two of the past three months. Shipments rose 0.5%, climbing for their eighth time in the last ninth months.
Fiscal changes from Capitol Hill are needed to improve the rate of growth in the U.S., Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker told CNBC on Thursday. GDP will remain "slightly above 2%" until further details of the Republicans' tax plans come to light. However, Harker still sees another interest rate hike before the year is out.
Consumer staples stocks carried the bulk of Wall Street again on Thursday, extending a trend that has characterized trading so far this week. Constellation Brands Inc. (STZ) contributed a large portion of the sector's gains. The stock jumped 4% after the alcohol company topped second-quarter earnings estimates. Net income rose to $2.48 a share from $1.75 a year earlier. Adjusted earnings of $2.47 a share, higher than an estimated $2.17 a share. Net sales of $2.08 billion also came in higher than anticipated. Strong beer sales offset weaker wine and spirits sales.
Jim Cramer reveals something cool about Constellation Brands.
L Brands Inc. (LB) added nearly 4% after reporting improving same-store sales trends. Same-store sales fell by 2% in September, half the rate of decline in August. Overall sales at the Victoria's Secret parent increased 1.1% to $981.6 million. L Brands said the recent hurricanes hurt sales by a full percentage point and that its exit of the swim and apparel categories hit same-store sales by three percentage points.
SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. (SEAS) tumbled 6.5% following reports Legoland and London Eye owner Merlin Entertainments PLC was pursuing an offer. The U.K.-based company is reportedly pursuing a deal in order to expand its overseas holdings.
Netflix Inc. (NFLX) climbed more than 5% after announcing plans to increase its subscription prices. The streaming service's HD plan, formerly $10 a month, will now cost $11. Its 4K streaming plan, formerly $12 a month, will now cost $14. Netflix said the increases will "roll out to members over the course of the next several months." New U.S. members will be charged the higher price at the time of sign-up.
Micro-cap stock Onvia Inc. (ONVI) was the best performer on the Nasdaq after agreeing to be acquired by Deltek Inc. The enterprise software company offered Onvia $9 a share in an all-cash deal. The offer represents a 100% premium to Onvia's last closing price of $4.55. The overall deal is worth around $70 million.
Crude oil prices returned to trade above $50 a barrel on Thursday. The commodity declined on Wednesday even after inventories declined in the past week at a far steeper pace than anticipated. Operational refineries have continued to work through the buildup in stocks caused by Hurricane Harvey. A number of refineries in the region were shuttered in the immediate aftermath in early September, causing crude stockpiles to spike.
West Texas Intermediate crude was up 1.6% to $50.79 a barrel on Thursday. It was its first day in the green in four sessions.
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