(Reuters) – The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both registered record closing highs on Tuesday, lifted by Apple Inc and other technology stocks after an upbeat consumer confidence report.
The S&P 500, helped by a jump in Morgan Stanley shares on news of a dividend increase, hit a record high for the fourth straight session. The S&P and the Dow closed little changed after a session marked by lighter than average volume, as the market awaits more economic data.
“I think the market is in a digestion period,” said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager at Globalt. “We’re waiting for that next piece of information that’s going to give us an idea of how sustainable the recovery is.”
Market participants are closely watching the nonfarm payroll report due on Friday, which could sway the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy stance which hinges on an equitable recovery of the labor market.
An upbeat consumer confidence report on Tuesday set a positive tone for jobs data. U.S. consumer confidence increased in June to its highest level since the COVID-19 pandemic started more than a year ago, bolstering expectations for strong economic growth in the second quarter.
“If there’s a strong nonfarm payrolls number this month and we start making progress on the unemployment rate, that changes the whole Fed narrative,” said Mike Zigmont, head of trading and research at Harvest Volatility Management in New York.
Three of the 11 major S&P sector indexes rose, with technology and consumer discretionary stocks the top gainers, up 0.7% and 0.23%, respectively.
Morgan Stanley jumped 3.4% after it doubled its dividend to 70 cents per share in the third quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corp and Goldman Sachs Group also raised their payouts.
All three major Wall Street indexes are set for their fifth straight quarter of gains, boosted by ultra-loose monetary policy, a rebounding U.S. economy and robust corporate earnings.
With the S&P 500 climbing nearly 14% in the first half of the year, investor focus is expected to shift to the second-quarter earnings season, beginning in July, which could decide the path for the next leg of the equity markets.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 9.02 points, or 0.03%, to 34,292.29. The S&P 500 gained 1.19 points, or 0.03%, to 4,291.8 and the Nasdaq Composite added 27.83 points, or 0.19%, to 14,528.34.
Moderna Inc jumped 5.2% to a record high after the drugmaker’s COVID-19 vaccine showed promise in a lab study against the Delta variant first identified in India, with a modest decrease in response compared with the original strain. The largest percentage gainer on the S&P 500 was Skyworks Solutions, which rose 4.5%, as Barclays analysts raised their price target, citing it as one of the suppliers to Apple that could benefit from the new iPhone launch. Apple rose more than 1.1%.
Volume on U.S. exchanges was 9.60 billion shares, compared with the 11.1 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.18-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.51-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 38 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 93 new highs and 38 new lows.
(Graphic: S&P 500, Nasdaq at record highs; Dow lags, )
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