Stocks rally as CDC lifts most mask mandates, jobless claims fall to post-pandemic low

Producer prices rose at the fastest annual pace on record

U.S. equity markets rallied Thursday as investors celebrated the Centers for Disease control and Prevention's latest easing of mask restrictions and shrugged off the biggest annual increase in producer prices on record. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 33876.97 +586.89 +1.76%
SP500 S&P 500 4224.79 +58.34 +1.40%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 14141.480379 +111.10 +0.79%

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 433 points, or 1.29%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite were higher by 1.22% and 0.72%, respectively.

The gains came after the CDC said fully vaccinated people don't need to wear masks in most indoor and outdoor settings, adding to an early rally that developed as weekly jobless claims fell to a fresh pandemic low of 473,000. 

Separately, the Labor Department said producer prices rose 6.2% year over year, making for the biggest annual jump since recordkeeping began in November 2010. Prices rose 0.6% for the month, slowing from March's 1% increase. Both numbers were above analysts' expectations. 

Separately, jobless claims fell to a fresh pandemic low coming in at 473,000 below last week's 498,000. Still, a record 8.1 million job openings continue to make hiring a challenge. 

In stocks, recently beaten down mega-cap tech names, including Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. saw some reprieve. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
AAPL APPLE, INC. 132.30 +1.84 +1.41%
MSFT MICROSOFT CORP. 262.63 +3.20 +1.23%

Elsewhere, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said his company will no longer accept bitcoin as payment for its vehicles due to the "increasing use of fossil fuels" for its mining. The electric-car maker will continue to hold its bitcoin and plans on using the cryptocurrency for transactions once mining becomes more sustainable. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
TSLA TESLA, INC. 620.83 -2.48 -0.40%

Meanwhile, Boeing Co. received Federal Aviation Administration approval for an electrical fix to an issue that resulted in about 100 737 Max jets being grounded in early April. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
BA THE BOEING CO. 245.28 +7.93 +3.34%

In earnings, Bumble Inc. beat on both the top and bottom lines and guided above Wall Street expectations as more people used the dating app while riding out the COVID-19 pandemic from home. 

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil plunged $2.26 to $63.82 as the Colonial Pipeline restarted after hackers knocked it offline for five days. Elsewhere, gold ticked up $1.20 to $1,823.80 an ounce. 

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Overseas markets ended mixed. 

In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.59% while France’s CAC 40 ticked up 0.14% and Germany's DAX 30 rose 0.33%. 

Meanwhile, Japan’s Nikkei 225 paced the losses in Asia, sinking 2.49%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index and China’s Shanghai Composite declined 1.81% and 0.96%, respectively.