S&P 500 hits new record after tech earnings, US jobs report

NEW YORK – The broad-based S&P 500 index closed at a fresh record on Feb 2, following a slew of earnings reports from major tech companies and US government data showing the labour market remained solid in January.

The S&P 500 finished the day up 1.1 per cent at 4,958.61, surpassing its previous high on Jan 29.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average also climbed to new heights, gaining 0.4 per cent to 38,654.42. The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite Index advanced a robust 1.7 per cent to 15,628.95.

The strong showing came a day after tech heavyweights Meta – the titan behind Facebook and Instagram – and Amazon blew through expectations in their latest quarterly results.

On Feb 2, Meta shares rocketed 20.3 per cent while Amazon closed 7.9 per cent up.

But Apple, which also reported earnings after the bell on Feb 1, slipped 0.5 per cent.

This was despite it logging sales growth in the final three months of 2023 – as worries surrounding competition in the China market cast a pall on the news.

Meanwhile, the Labour Department said on Feb 2 that the world’s biggest economy smashed expectations to add 353,000 jobs last month.

The unemployment rate remained under 4 per cent for two whole years – signalling continued resilience in the labour market which could support growth this year.

“It’s more about earnings than it is about the labour report,” said Mr Tom Cahill, of Ventura Wealth Management, of the market’s performance.

Investors are focused on “good earnings out of Meta, Amazon and just the excitement around the artificial intelligence and technology companies,” he added. AFP

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