The Nasdaq Composite gained 1.23% while the S&P 500 rallied 0.68% crossing the 4,000 mark for the first time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced or 0.36% or 119 points.
The early advance comes despite data released Thursday showing 719,000 Americans filed first-time jobless claims in the week ended March 27, above the 680,000 filings that analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting. The prior week’s reading was revised down to 658,000, from 684,000, the lowest level since the pandemic began.
In stocks, Microsoft Corp. won a $21.9 billion contract to supply the U.S. Army with augmented reality headsets for the next 10 years.
TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %MSFTMICROSOFT CORP.241.93+6.16+2.61%Powered by
In deals, Micron Technology Inc. and Western Digital Corp. are each exploring deals for Japanese semiconductor manufacturer Kioxia Holdings Corp. that would value the company at about $30 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. Kioxia is also looking into a possible initial public offering, the report said.
TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %MUMICRON TECHNOLOGY, INC.91.98+3.77+4.28%WDCWESTERN DIGITAL CORP.70.37+3.62+5.42%AMDADVANCED MICRO DEVICES, INC.80.97+2.47+3.15%INTCINTEL CORP.64.00+0.01+0.01%Powered by
The news lifted shares of other semiconductors, including Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Intel Corp.
Elsewhere, Ford Motor Co. said it will cut production at seven North American plants due to the global chip shortage. The company will provide updated guidance on April 28.
TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %FFORD MOTOR CO.12.21-0.08-0.69%Powered by
Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson shares slipped after a batch of its COVID-19 vaccine was discovered to have a problem in the manufacturing process overseen by Emergent BioSolutions Inc. The company did not reveal how many doses were ruined but estimates peg the number close to 15 million.
Pfizer Inc. announced its COVID-19 vaccine was found to be 91% effective against the South African variant. The drug manufacturer said it plans to seek full regulatory approval from U.S. regulators.
In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil climbed $1.54 to $60.70 per barrel and gold ticked up $8.80 to $1,724.40 an ounce.
Overseas markets were broadly higher.
Britain’s FTSE 100 was out front in Europe, trading up 0.52%, while Germany’s DAX 30 and France’s CAC 40 advanced 0.29% and 0.21%, respectively.
In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index surged 1.97%, Japan’s Nikkei 225 rallied 0.72% and China’s Shanghai Composite rose 0.71%.