All major averages finished the week higher for three straight weeks of gains, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising to a record close.
The Dow climbed nearly 74 points, or 0.2%, to 35,677.02, its first record close since Aug. 16. The S&P 500 edged lower by 0.1% to 4,544.90 a day after the benchmark closed at a record. The Nasdaq Composite shed 0.8% to 15,090.20.
On the month, the S&P and Dow are up about 5% while the Nasdaq is up 4%.
The Dow got a boost Thursday as investors rotated out of tech stocks and into blue-chips. American Express led the index higher with a 5% gain on the back of a strong earnings report.
Intel and Snap pulled the Nasdaq lower Thursday, after both companies reported disappointing earnings. Intel shares retreated more than 11% after reporting weaker-than-expected sales and a revenue miss, for which it blamed the industry-wide chip shortage. Snap said its advertising business declined due to Apple’s privacy changes. Snap shares sunk more than 26%.
Social media stocks also dropped, with Facebook and Twitter pulling back 5% and 4%, respectively.
However, several tech stocks rose to all-time highs. Tesla shares extended their rally, rising more than 1% after hitting a new intraday high earlier in the morning. The stock closed 3% higher Thursday after posting record profit and revenue, along with strong margins. Netflix, Ebay and Microsoft also climbed to new all-time highs.
Despite the blips in the tech sector, overall earnings season has been terrific so far, boosting the broader market back to an all-time high following a two-month lull. So far for the third quarter earnings season, 84% of the 117 companies that have reported have beat analysts’ earnings estimates, according to Refinitiv. Profits are on pace in the quarter to increase 34.8%, according to Refinitiv.
Still, things may still seem a little uncertain for investors looking toward the end of the year due to cost pressures, labor shortages and commentary from company management on earnings calls and comments from Fed chair Jerome Powell and other policymakers — even with the S&P 500 up 20% for the year, Stephen Kolano, chief investment officer of BNY Mellon Investor Solutions, told CNBC.
“You’re starting to see some profit taking as a result of that,” Kolano said. “Where investors are going first and foremost is the companies that have run the fastest, which is a lot of the tech.”
The disappointing results from Intel and, earlier this week, IBM, as well as hawkish comments from Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell on inflation and policy tightening Thursday have added to market jitters, but the slight move downward shouldn’t be too worrisome, at least in the near term, said Cliff Hodge, Cornerstone Wealth’s chief investment officer.
“After a 5% rally on seven green days in a row for the S&P it makes some sense for the market to consolidate,” he said. “The setup into year-end looks great given the liquidity dynamics on corporate buybacks, but longer term there are still the unresolved headwinds of valuation, the transition to mid-cycle in the economy, and a tightening Fed that may prove challenging now that we’re back at all-time highs.”
Strong jobs data also added to the positive market sentiment on Thursday. Initial jobless claims fell to a new pandemic low of 290,000 last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday — down 6,000 from the previous week and lower than the 300,000 expected from economists surveyed by Dow Jones.
One of investors’ fears during the market’s recent struggles was a China property crisis. However, investors got good news on that front overnight with China’s Evergrande reportedly paying a key interest payment that was due to foreign bondholders, staving off a default for the property developer.