Investing.com – 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.
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.
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.
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.