Dow Closes Above 34,000 for First Time as Strong Earnings Keep Rally Alive

This post was originally published on this site – The Dow closed above 34,000 for the first time ever Thursday, underpinned by a backdrop of surging retail sales, corporate earnings that beat estimates and a plunge in U.S. bond yields.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.90%, or 305 points, to close at 34,035.99. The S&P 500 rose 1.11%, to a record high of 4,170.42, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 1.3%.

Retail sales rose 9.8%, the largest monthly gain since last May, in a further sign that the U.S. consumer, awash with stimulus cash, remains in good shape.

“The combo of stimulus checks, good weather and the reopening propelled retail sales 9.8% m/m in March. This is second largest monthly gain on record, eclipsed only by last May’s 18.3% increase,” Jefferies (NYSE:JEF) said.

The backdrop of a healthy consumer has also been supported by an improving labor market.

U.S. jobless claims fell to 576,000 last week from 769,000 the prior week, a much larger decline than the 700,000 expected.

As well as upbeat economic data, the trend of better-than-expected earnings from Wall Street banks also supported investor sentiment on stocks.

Bank of Citigroup , BlackRock (NYSE:BLK), and US Bancorp (NYSE:USB) were among the notable quarterly reports.

Citigroup (NYSE:C) quarterly earnings garnered the most attention after the bank laid out a plan to sell its retail banking operations in Asia and eastern Europe to focus on wealth management.

Elsewhere, UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) raised its annual guidance and first-quarter results that topped estimates on both the top and bottom lines, sending its shares up 4%.

PepsiCo (NASDAQ:PEP) also delivered a first-quarter earnings beat as its organic sales of 2.4% beat estimates.

Tech, meanwhile, extended its gains from a day earlier thanks to a plunge in bond yields, with the 10-year Treasury closing at its lowest level since March.

Google-parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), (NASDAQ:AMZN), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) closed higher.

Still, there are some regulatory clouds forming around big tech as the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee approved a report accusing Big Tech companies of antitrust behavior, paving the blueprint for legislation to rein in the tech behemoths.

In other news, Coinbase Global (NASDAQ:COIN) fell about 1% following a sharp rally on its trading debut Wednesday, but the cryptocurrency platform has caught the attention of famed fund manager Cathie Woods as ARK took a $250 million position in the stock a day earlier.