S&P 500 hits record close, Dow, Nasdaq finish higher after durable goods rise, jobless claims steady

The Fed’s preferred measure of inflation now sits at a 33 year high

Despite more signs of persistent inflation. U.S. stocks finished strong following encouraging reports on durable goods and jobless claims and fading omicron fears. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 196.67 points, or 0.5%, while the S&P 500 rose 0.6% to a record close and the Nasdaq Composite jumped 0.8%. U.S. markets are up more than 1.6% for the week.  

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 34715.39 -313.26 -0.89%
SP500 S&P 500 4482.73 -50.03 -1.10%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 14154.020372 -186.23 -1.30%

The bond market had a shortened trading session, closing at 2 p.m. ET. 

US ECONOMIC GROWTH REVISED UP TO 2.3% IN THIRD QUARTER, BUT STILL LAGGED PREVIOUS MONTHS

Oil climbed 1.4% during Thursday's trading session, trading at the $73 per barrel level. Earlier in the day, ExxonMobil battled a refinery fire in its Baytown Texas plant. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
USO UNITED STATES OIL FUND L.P. 60.66 -0.39 -0.64%
XOM EXXON MOBIL CORP. 73.27 +0.16 +0.22%

In economic data: Durable Goods, sales of big-ticket items, rebounded by 2.5% after rising just 0.1% in the prior month. The data backs up the latest Consumer Confidence Index which showed an uptick in spending plans over the next six months. 

Personal income and spending also rose with spending up 0.6% and income up 0.4%. 

On inflation, core personal consumption expenditures, which remove volatile food and energy prices, are also anticipated to jump 0.5% month-over-month in November. The year-over-year change in core PCE, which is the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation, rose 4.7%, the highest reading in almost 33 years.

Jobless claims held steady at 205,000, little changed from the previous week’s total of 206,000. Continuing claims, which track the total number of unemployed workers collecting benefits, hit 1.859 million, still hovering near a pandemic low.

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In stocks, Merck shares finished lower despite receiving approval from the Food and Drug Administration on its COVID-19 pill. The approval came after Pfizer's pill was cleared Wednesday. Additionally, Novavax fell over 3% despite news that its COVID regimen "demonstrated cross-reactive immune responses against Omicron."

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
MRK MERCK & CO. INC. 80.75 -0.54 -0.66%
PFE PFIZER INC. 54.05 +0.51 +0.95%
NVAX NOVAVAX INC. 90.36 -1.97 -2.13%

Electric vehicle maker shares were also in focus on Thursday, with truck maker Nikola surging more than 17% following its first customer order delivery and shares of Tesla moving 5% higher as CEO Elon Musk continues to exercise his stock options. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
NKLA NIKOLA CORP. 7.99 -0.64 -7.42%
TSLA TESLA INC. 996.27 +0.62 +0.06%

The 10-year treasury yield rose to 1.492% at the end of Thursday's trading session, its highest level since Dec. 8, after briefly topping 1.5% for the first time since Dec. 13.

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Investors continue to eye Apple. Hitting its $3 trillion market cap milestone appears likely to be pushed to 2022. Microsoft is the only other company that is a close second to this status. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
AAPL APPLE INC. 164.51 -1.72 -1.03%
MSFT MICROSOFT CORP. 301.60 -1.73 -0.57%

There will be no trading in equities or U.S. Treasuries on Christmas Eve on Friday. Many world markets will be closed Friday in observance of Christmas.

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 Ken Martin and The Associated Press contributed to this report.