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June 11, 2021

The S&P 500 hit a new record high for the first time in more than a month Thursday as economic data pointed to improvements in the ongoing pandemic recovery, sparking renewed bullishness among investors. 

 

The S&P climbed nearly 20 points, or 0.5%, Thursday, surpassing 4,239 points and besting a closing high of 4,232 from May 7.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, meanwhile, ticked up less than 0.1% to 34,466 points—still about 0.9% below its latest high, also on May 7.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq, which has underperformed the broader market in recent months after a year of massive performance, jumped 0.8%, though it’s still 0.5% off a February record.

 

A slew of healthcare and tech stocks headed up the market rally, with ServiceNow, Enphase Energy and Align Technology climbing roughly 5% apiece.

Pharmacy chain Walgreens and pharmaceutical giant led the Dow, adding 3.5% and 3%, respectively.

The Thursday stock gains came after new jobless claims fell for the sixth straight week and hit a new pandemic low of 376,000, according to the Labor Department.

Consumer prices rose 0.6% between April and May and 5% over the 12 months ending in May—the highest annual rate in 13 years and more than economists were expecting. “Whilst it is true that the pandemic’s economic disruption has radically changed consumers’ spending patterns around the world, raising concerns around increased inflation, these levels are what we would expect and represent a short-term trend that will correct over time,” Oliver Wright, a global consumer goods and services lead at Accenture, said of the report.

Bold central bank measures around the world helped ward off a grave and prolonged economic downturn during the pandemic, but experts in recent weeks have worried a global economy awash with cash could cause problematic inflation and tank markets down the line. That tension came to a head before last month’s consumer price index report, which showed that inflation had spiked to a 13-year high of 4.2% in April. Stocks plunged ahead of the reading and then struggled to pare back losses for weeks, but the Federal Reserve has since helped ease concerns by insisting it won’t ease its accommodative policy until the economy reaches full employment and inflation that consistently overshoots 2%. Thursday’s CPI report marks only the second month in more than a year that inflation clocks in above 2%, and the same-day unemployment report was worse than economists expected despite the week-over-week improvement. 








Source: Forbes
Image Source: Getty Images