The S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed at record highs Thursday, as optimism on progress of the infrastructure bill through Congress, and expectations for a strong monthly jobs report due Friday supported investor sentiment on stocks.
The S&P 500 added 0.6% to a closing record of 4,429.10, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.80%, or 271 points. and the Nasdaq was up 0.8% to a record close of 14,895.12.
Ahead of the July nonfarm payrolls report, the latest U.S. jobless weekly claims data were in line with economists’ forecast.
Initial jobless claims for the week ended July 31st were 385,000, down 14,000 from the previous week. The data came a day after ADP reported private sector job gains that fell well short of estimates.
Despite the mixed picture on the jobs front, Wall Street continues to tout optimism ahead of the July jobs report.
“We forecast nonfarm payrolls rose 1025k in July following a 850k rise in June,” Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) said in a note. “We think payrolls in July were supported by favorable seasonal factors associated with education.”
Sentiment on stocks were also boosted by reports the Senate could wrap up a $1 trillion infrastructure bill as soon as Thursday night. Democrats hope to follow up the $1 trillion legislation with a $3.5 trillion spending package without Republican support.
"Congress appears to be on track to pass two spending bills early in the fourth quarter totaling a record $4 trillion over the next 10 years and keyed to infrastructure and social spending." Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) said.
Energy led the gains to the upside in the broader market as oil prices steadied from their recent weakness.
Consumer discretionary stocks were also in the ascendency, led by a surge in casino stocks following better-than-expected quarterly results from Wynn and MGM, while a surge in Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ:PENN) after it signed a deal to acquire Score Media and Gaming also boosted the sector.
Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN) and MGM Resorts (NYSE:MGM) were up 8% and 6% after reporting quarterly results that surprised to the upside.
Roku (NASDAQ:ROKU) fell 4% as the streaming services device company's softer user growth numbers overshadowed quarterly results that fell short of expectations. Still, Wall Street remains bullish on Roku.
“While worsening supply chain environment likely to stall 2H global distribution, we believe linear budget shift will more than offset any revenue impact,” Oppenheimer said in a note as it raised its price on target on Roku to $480 from $400.
Health care stocks, proved an exception to the broader market rally, paced by a decline in share of Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) despite reporting second-quarter earnings and revenue that topped Wall Street estimates.
In other news, Robinhood Markets (NASDAQ:HOOD) fell 27% as the online trading brokerage said existing shareholders will sell close to 97.9 million shares over time. The stock climbed nearly 50% on Wednesday, riding the meme wave of the demand after options trading on its stock got underway.