U.S. Stocks Extend Upward Move On Additional Encouraging Inflation Data

Stocks moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday, adding to the gains posted over the past few sessions. With the continued upward move, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 once again reached their best closing levels in over a year.

The major averages gave back some ground going into the close but remained in positive territory. The Nasdaq surged 219.61 points or 1.6 percent to 14,138.57, the S&P 500 jumped 37.88 points or 0.9 percent to 4,510.04 and the narrower Dow inched up 47.71 points or 0.1 percent to 34,395.13.

The continued strength on Wall Street came following the release of a Labor Department report showing producer prices in the U.S. inched up by slightly less than expected in the month of June.

The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand crept up by 0.1 percent in June after falling by a revised 0.4 percent in May.

Economists had expected producer prices to rise by 0.2 percent compared to the 0.3 percent dip originally reported for the previous month.

The report also said the annual rate of producer price growth slowed to just 0.1 percent in June from a revised 0.9 percent in May.

The pace of growth was expected to slow to 0.4 percent from the 1.1 percent originally reported for the previous month.

Following yesterday’s tamer-than-expected consumer price inflation data, the data further eased concerns about the outlook for interest rates.

“The disinflation narrative is in full effect with less-than-expected PPI numbers today following on the heels of lower-than-expected CPI numbers yesterday,” said Chris Zaccarelli, Chief Investment Officer for Independent Advisor Alliance.

He added, “It does appear that inflation is coming down across the board and although the Fed is still likely to raise rates again at the end of this month, there is a very strong possibility that they are done raising rates for the year.”

Meanwhile, a separate Labor Department report unexpectedly showed a modest decrease in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended July 8th.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims slipped to 237,000, a decrease of 12,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 249,000.

The dip surprised economists, who had expected jobless claims to inch up to 250,000 from the 248,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Sector News

Computer hardware stocks saw substantial strength on the day, driving the NYSE Arca Computer Hardware Index up by 2.4 percent to its best closing level in over a year.

Semiconductor and software stocks also showed significant moves to the upside, contributing to the surge by the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

Steel, financial and housing stocks also saw considerable strength, while networking and airline stocks moved to the downside.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index surged by 1.5 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index spiked by 2.6 percent.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index advanced by 0.7 percent, the French CAC 40 Index climbed by 0.5 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.3 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries extended the rally seen over the past few sessions. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, tumbled by 10.0 basis points to 3.761 percent.

Looking Ahead

A report on import and export prices in the month of June may attract some attention on Friday along with the University of Michigan’s preliminary reading on consumer sentiment in the month of July.

Earnings news is also likely to attract attention, with financial giants Citigroup (C), JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) due to release their quarterly results before the start of trading.

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