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Dow Tops Historic 34,000 as Bulls Feast on Earnings, Retail Sales

imageStock Markets1 hour ago (Apr 15, 2021 01:50PM ET)

(C) Reuters

By Yasin Ebrahim

Investing.com – The Dow hit a record and topped the 34,000 milestone Thursday, as a double whammy of surging retail sales and corporate earnings that beat estimates triggered bullish bets on stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.81%, or 273 points, after topping 34,000 for the first time ever. The S&P 500 rose 1.03 %, to a record high of 4,169.00, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 1.3%.

Retail sales rose 9.8%, the largest monthly gain since last May, in a further sign that the U.S. consumer, awash with stimulus cash, remains in good shape.

“The combo of stimulus checks, good weather and the reopening propelled retail sales 9.8% m/m in March. This is second largest monthly gain on record, eclipsed only by last May’s 18.3% increase,” Jefferies (NYSE:JEF) said.

The backdrop of a healthy consumer has also been supported by an improving labor market.

U.S. jobless claims fell to 576,000 last week from 769,000 the prior week, a much larger decline than the 700,000 expected.

As well as upbeat economic data, the trend of better-than-expected earnings from Wall Street banks also supported investor sentiment on stocks.

Bank of Citigroup , BlackRock (NYSE:BLK), and US Bancorp (NYSE:USB) were among the notable quarterly reports.

Citigroup (NYSE:C) quarterly earnings garnered the most attention after the bank laid out a plan to sell its retail banking operations in Asia and eastern Europe to focus on wealth management.

Elsewhere, UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) raised its annual guidance and first-quarter results that topped estimates on both the top and bottom lines, sending its shares up more than 3%.

PepsiCo (NASDAQ:PEP) also delivered a first-quarter earnings beat as its organic sales of 2.4% beat estimates.

Tech, meanwhile, extended its gains from a day earlier as investors appear to be gearing up for strong earnings from megacap tech.

Google-parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) traded near all-time highs.

Still, there are some regulatory clouds forming around big tech as the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee approved a report accusing Big Tech companies of antitrust behavior, paving the blueprint for legislation to rein in the tech behemoths.

In other news, Coinbase Global (NASDAQ:COIN) was up more than 1% following a sharp rally on its trading debut Wednesday, but the cryptocurrency platform has caught the attention of famed fund manager Cathie Woods as ARK took a $250 million position in the stock a day earlier.

Dow Tops Historic 34,000 as Bulls Feast on Earnings, Retail Sales

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