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US Stock Market: NASDAQ Moves Higher for Year; Investors Looking Ahead, not Behind

James Hyerczyk

The major U.S. stock indexes closed higher on Thursday as investors shrugged off a report showing even more dismal weekly unemployment data. Weekly jobless claims data showed more than 33 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits over the seven-week period ending May 2.

The stock market rally indicates that investors are paying little attention to the “stale” data, but looking forward to improvements in the economy now that states are beginning to lift their lockdowns and restrictions.

In the cash market on Thursday, the benchmark S&P 500 Index settled at 2881.19, up 32.77 or +1.25%. The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at 23875.89, up 211.25 or +0.95% and the technology-based NASDAQ Composite closed at 8979.66, up 125.27 or +1.61%.

On Friday the Labor Department will release its monthly jobs report. Economists polled by Dow Jones expect that more than 21 million jobs were lost in April.

NASDAQ Composite is Clear Leader

The tech-heavy NASDAQ jumped during the cash session, turning positive for the year in the process. Gains from Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet and Apple helped lift the index back into positive territory for 2020. On March 23, the NASDAQ was down more than 25% year to date, now it is trading about 0.1% higher year to data.

Smaller-cap stocks also contributed to the rise in the NASDAQ. A jump in PayPal was one stock that helped the technology index turn higher for the year. The payment processor surged 12.8% to a record high after it forecast a strong rebound in payments volumes in the second quarter as social distancing drives more people to shop online.

Lyft Inc surged 27.7% as the ride-hailing company posted higher-than-expected revenue and vowed to further cut costs to be profitable. Rival Uber Technologies, which is expected to report results after markets close, gained 12.3%.

S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average Playing Catch-Up

The NASDAQ Composite is trading higher for the year because it is primarily technology-based, the sector that appears to be immune from the impact of the coronavirus. Meanwhile, energy and airlines have been a huge drag on the S&P 500 and the Dow.

Even with energy stocks rising 3.3% on Thursday, the most among the 11 major sectors, it’s highly unlikely that the S&P and Dow will be able to match the gains in the NASDAQ or even come close unless the economy makes a miraculous recovery.

This article was originally posted on FX Empire