Dow ends over 34,000 for first time on good bank earnings, data

by AFP

NEW YORK – Wall Street stocks shot to fresh records on Thursday following blowout earnings from large banks and strong US economic data showed the recovery picking up speed.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.9 percent to a record 34,035.99, and the first close above 34,000.

The broad-based S&P 500 also ended at a record, gaining 1.1 percent to 4,170.42, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 1.3 percent to finish at 14,038.76.

The records came as Citigroup and Bank of America joined the parade of large banks reporting at least a doubling of quarterly profits on strong trading results and large reserve releases amid the improving economic outlook.

“Across the board, the banks surprised to the upside,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial, who also cited strong economic reports as a factor in the rally.

Meanwhile, retail sales surged 9.8 percent in March compared to the prior month, as Americans spent more in restaurants and on sporting goods, gardening and cars as coronavirus vaccines became more widespread.

And new applications for jobless benefits plunged to 576,000 last week, the fewest filed since the week ended March 14, 2020 — just before the coronavirus sparked business disruptions and millions of layoffs.

Among individual companies, Delta Air Lines fell 2.8 percent as it reported another quarterly loss, but pointed to an expected return to profitability later in 2021 as travel demand picks up sharply.

Dell Technologies surged 6.7 percent as it announced it would spin off its 81 percent stake in VMware, generating some $9.5 billion for Dell.