US STOCKS-S&P 500 hits 4,000 mark on tech strength, reopening optimism

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(Reuters) – The S&P 500 on Thursday crossed the 4,000 mark for the first time, as technology shares, led by chipmakers, gained following an upbeat earnings outlook by Micron, while optimism about the U.S. economic growth lifted sentiment.

FILE PHOTO: A child leaps off a bench outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., March 19, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Seven of the 11 S&P sectors rose, with technology and communication services gaining more than 1.5%.

Increased vaccinations and massive fiscal stimulus are powering a recovery in the labor market, which helped investors shrug off latest data that showed a rise in the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits last week.

The closely-watched monthly jobs report on Friday could show U.S. economy added 647,000 jobs last month after February’s 379,000 rise.

“The data continues to give confidence that the earnings are going to be revised higher,” said Larry Adam, chief investment officer at Raymond James.

“April is usually a pretty good month for the market historically and I would expect that momentum to continue especially as we see the economy strengthen.”

Micron Technology Inc advanced 4.8% after the chipmaker forecast fiscal third-quarter revenue above Wall Street estimates due to higher demand for memory chips, thanks to 5G smartphones and artificial intelligence software.

U.S.-listed shares of rival Taiwan Semiconductor rose 3.8% on its plan to invest $100 billion over the next three years to meet the rising chip demand.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq jumped 1.5% as “high flying” stocks including Inc, Apple Inc, Alphabet Inc, Microsoft Corp and Facebook Inc added between 1.1% and 2.3% after underperforming last month on concerns over elevated valuations.

The S&P 500 had hit an intraday high on Wednesday as President Joe Biden unveiled a $2 trillion-plus plan to rebuild the world’s largest economy.

Biden’s “American Jobs Plan” would put corporate America on the hook for the tab as the government creates millions of jobs building infrastructure, such as roads, tackles climate change and boosts human services like care for the elderly. At 9:42 a.m. ET, the S&P 500 was up 27.80 points, or 0.70%, at 4,000.69, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 79.34 points, or 0.24%, at 33,060.89.

Johnson & Johnson fell 0.8% after the drugmaker said it had found a problem with a batch of the drug substance for its COVID-19 vaccine being produced by Emergent Biosolutions.

Emergent’s shares tumbled 12%.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.89-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 3.20-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 10 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 33 new highs and three new lows.

Reporting by Devik Jain and Medha singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur