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Big tech drives S&P 500 to 66th record this year

Technology stocks drove the equity market to a record in a volatile session ahead of Friday’s options expiration.

The S&P 500 notched its 66th all-time high of 2021, with the benchmark gauge poised for the second-biggest number of annual records ever — only behind 1995. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 outperformed as giant chipmaker Nvidia Corp. boosted its outlook, while Apple Inc. jumped after Bloomberg News reported the company is pushing to accelerate the development of its electric car. Macy’s Inc. and Kohl’s Corp. paced gains in retailers after signaling consumer demand remains robust.

“Technology continues to be a key enabler of higher productivity and home to many of the fastest growing companies,” said Scott Brown, a technical strategist at LPL Financial. “So does this mean investors should be shifting all of their assets over to growth stocks again? We don’t necessarily think so, and continue to find opportunities in both growth and value styles.”

The next six months could see the S&P 500 hitting 5,200 in an environment of reduced monetary stimulus and outperformance by cyclical companies, according to Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management. That would imply a rally of about 11% from current levels.

Some other corporate highlights:

  • After the close of regular trading, Applied Materials Inc. — the biggest maker of machinery used to manufacture semiconductors — delivered a weaker forecast than anticipated.
  • S.-listed Chinese stocks slumped on Thursday after a disappointing revenue outlook from e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
  • CVS Health Corp. rose after saying it will close 900 stores over the next three years, part of a plan to decrease its store density in some areas.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. economists said they now expect the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates next September, becoming the latest on Wall Street to jettison a forecast for the central bank to stay on hold through 2022. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts said last month they expect a Fed hike in July. Their counterparts at Morgan Stanley still see officials not shifting rates throughout next year. Bloomberg

 

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