Stocks rose broadly on Wall Street on Thursday (US time) as the market builds momentum a day after breaking a three-day losing streak.
In mid-afternoon trade, the S&P 500 is 1.6 per cent higher. More than 90 per cent of stocks within the benchmark index gained ground, and it is now on track for a weekly gain. The Dow Jones Industrial is up 1.5 per cent and the Nasdaq has risen by 1.7 per cent.
The Australian sharemarket is set for a bright start to the session, with futures at 5.05am AEDT pointing to a rise of 50 points, or 0.7 per cent, at the open.
US health care stocks made some of the strongest gains. UnitedHealth Group jumped 3.9 per cent after raising its profit forecast for the year following a strong third-quarter. Technology stocks also did a lot of heavy lifting. Apple rose 1.8 per cent and Microsoft rose 1.7 per cent.
This is the first big week for companies reporting their most recent quarterly financial results and investors have had mixed reactions so far to the latest round of bank earnings. Bank of America rose 3.1 per cent after beating analysts’ forecasts. Wells Fargo also beat forecasts, but it shed 2.1 per cent as profits from lending fell compared with a year ago.
Investors are also reviewing the latest data on jobs and inflation as they try to gauge the economy’s health and path forward.
The Labor Department said the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits last week fell to its lowest level since the pandemic began. It’s a positive sign for a job market that is still trying to recover from the initial hit from the pandemic 18 months ago. A surge of cases stunted the recovery.
The latest report on inflation showed that businesses continue to face pressure from rising costs. The Labor Department said inflation at the wholesale level rose 8.6 per cent in September compared to a year ago, the largest advance since the 12-month change was first calculated in 2010.