Stocks Rise After Passing Key Technical Level, Jobless Data Hits

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Stocks rose slightly Thursday after passing a key technical level, while jobless claims were large but smaller than in recent reports. 

The S&P 500 rose as much as 0.4% before that gain faded to less than a tenth of a percentage point. The terch-heavy Nasdaq teetered between up and down marginally. The 10 Year Treasury yield rose to 0.7%. 

"The S&P 500 is now consolidating gains above the critical 3000 mark, at twelve-week highs,” wrote Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote Bank in emailed remarks to reporters. "The current levels will be a make or break for investors. If the market eagerness to carry the recovery higher is stronger than the temptation of realizing profits, we could see the S&P500 targeting the pre-Covid levels – which is strange per se knowing how bad the businesses were impacted by the Covid shutdown.” 

The S&P 500 recently passed its 200-day moving average, a bullish signal. 

Jobless claims for the past week came in at 2.1M, a large number historically,but less than the 3 million recently and far less than the 6 million at the beginning of shutdowns. This may be attributable to the paycheck protection program, but is also a reflection of the reopenings season across the country. 

"While jobless claims continue to mount, they’re incrementally slowing week after week which should offer some optimism,” said Mike Loewenegart, head of investment strategy at E*Trade. 

Negatively, the U.S. said Wednesday afternoon that Hong Kong cannot be considered autonomous from China, after China past a national security law. This signifies increased tensions between the two nations and the likelihood that a trade deal won’t get done any time soon. 

Discount store Dollar General  (DG) - Get Report reported resounding first quarter results but the stock fell 0.17% to $186 a share after running up 15% for the year into earnings. Revenue was $8.5 billion, beating analysts estimates of $7.5 billion, with same-store-sales rising 21.7% year-over-year, as consumers stocked up during lockdowns. Earnings per share rose 73% to $2.56, beating estimates of $1.74. Some analysts think discount retail could be a winner during the recession and recovery, as consumers trade down. 

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