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Chips Lead Nasdaq To New Highs; Jobs Data Provide Boost | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis

The Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 all popped to new highs in opening trade Thursday, with a boost from chip stocks and from a surprise surge in December services sector jobs growth.

X The Nasdaq Composite jumped 0.4% at the starting bell, with Micron Technology (MU) and Nvidia (NVDA) posting two of the Nasdaq 100’s best advances. The Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 each rose 0.3%, enough to hoist the Dow for the first time above the 25,000 mark.

Intel, Tesla Under Pressure; AMD, SVB Financial Early Risers

American Express (AXP) snatched an early lead on the Dow, up 1.1% after announcing revised tax laws will drive fourth-quarter earnigsn below prior guidance, but will provide a “significant ongoing benefit.”

Intel (INTC) opened down 3.8%, continuing to feel pressure from discovery of the flaw dubbed “Meltdown,” a chip operating system lapse which potentially permits hackers access to the memory of a computer or other device. Intel had pared a steep early loss to around 3% in heavy trade on Wednesday, suggesting some support at the stock’s 10-week moving average.

Alphabet’s (GOOGL) Google Project Zero researchers also found a second chip flaw, Reuters reported, which they named Spectre. The second security flaw affects specific chips from Intel, AMD (AMD) and Softbank’s (SFTBY) ARM, putting devices using those chips at risk of a security breach.

AMD jumped 5.8% higher in early action. A two-day rally left shares up more than 12% for the short week through Wednesday, clearing resistance at the stock’s 10-week moving average but stopping just below the 40-week line.

Micron Technology tacked on a 0.9% gain. The Boise, Idaho-based chipmaker retook support at its 10-week moving average on Wednesday, as it moved further up the right side of flat base with a 49.99 buy point.

IBD Leaderboard stock SVB Financial (SIVB) grabbed an early 1.4% gain. The northern California-based bank is extended above a 223.92 entry in a nine-month saucer-with-handle base.

Apple (AAPL) added a fraction, edging closer to an attempt to retake a buy point at 176.34. The FANG stock tech leaders all traded higher, with Alphabet leading the group with a 0.9% gain.

Netflix (NFLX) ticked up 0.3%, remaining in buy range, less than 1% above a flat base buy point at 204.48.

Snapchat parent Snap (SNAP) dropped more than 3%, after Cowen & Co. downgraded the stock to underperform, from market perform, and forecast the stock would see a 30% decline this year. A Cowen & Co. survey found advertisers rated the platform at the bottom of a list of social media advertising venues. Snap has recovered 32% from an August low, leaving it 13% below its March IPO price.

Another tech leader, Tesla (TSLA), slumped almost 3% at the open, following a 1% decline in weak trade Wednesday. The maker of luxury battery-powered vehicles reported on Wednesday its fourth-quarter manufacturing and deliveries fell far short of guidance, and it pushed back its guidance for upcoming deliveries in 2018.

Shares of the stock are down about 21% from a September high, and struggling to maintain support at their 10-week line.

Retail pharmacy chains Rite-Aid (RAD) dropped 0.9%, Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) slipped 4% after reporting quarterly results.

December Hiring Sails Past Targets; Weekly Jobless Claims Rise

U.S. private-sector employers added 250,000 new jobs in December, according to the ADP National Employment Report, with mid-size business accounting for more than half of that total. Service sector employment rose by 222,000 workers. Manufacturing and construction added 25,000 jobs. December’s tally was up sharply from the 190,000 added jobs reported in November, clobbering consensus expectations for a decline to 188,000.

The Labor Department first-time unemployment claims edged higher, to 250,000, in the week ended Dec. 30. That was up from 245,000 claims in the prior week and above consensus projections for a decrease to 240,000 applications.

A services purchasing managers index for December is set for release from Markit at 9:45 a.m. ET. The Energy Information Administration reports weekly inventories data for natural gas at 10:30 ET and for oil at 11 a.m. ET.


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