Wall St ticks up on megacaps, earnings boost

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
Wall St ticks up on megacaps, earnings boost
Credit: © Reuters

By Shashwat Chauhan and Shristi Achar A

(Reuters) -Wall Street's main stock indexes gained on Thursday as investors cheered upbeat earnings across several sectors, while advancing megacap growth stocks were amongst the biggest boosts.

Megacap growth stock Meta Platforms (NASDAQ: META ) outpaced peers and gained 2.7% after Bernstein raised its price target to $590, a sixth such hike on the stock this week.

The first-quarter earnings season was in full swing with Genuine Parts jumping 12.9%, the top percentage gainer on the S&P 500 , as the automotive parts distributor raised its 2024 profit forecast.

Elevance Health added 3.9% after the health insurer reported quarterly profit above Wall Street estimates and slightly raised its annual earnings forecast.

D.R. Horton (NYSE: DHI ) rose 2.4% after the U.S. homebuilder raised its annual revenue forecast as tight housing supply boosted sales.

"Once the stock market is expensive, you need substantive earnings growth to justify these prices and we're getting it (so far)," said Phil Blancato, chief executive officer at Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management.

The S&P 500 currently trades about 20 times its 12-month forward earnings, as per LSEG data.

Meanwhile, New York Fed President John Williams said there's no pressing case to lower interest rates right now.

On the data front, the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits was unchanged at a low level last week, pointing to continued labor market strength.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq clocked their fourth straight day of losses on Wednesday as investors remained jittery about the Fed's interest-rate outlook.

Money markets are now pricing in about 40 bps of rate cuts this year, down from around 150 bps seen at the start of the year, according to LSEG data.

All 11 major S&P 500 sectors traded higher, with communication services leading gains, up 1.1%.

At 12:04 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 223.36 points, or 0.59%, at 37,976.67, the S&P 500 was up 22.41 points, or 0.45%, at 5,044.62, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 64.12 points, or 0.41%, at 15,747.50.

On the downside, Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA ) slipped 3.3% after Deutsche Bank (ETR: DBKGn ) downgraded its rating on the stock to "hold" from "buy".

Las Vegas Sands Corp lost 7.5% after brokerages cut their price targets on the casino operator due to weakness in its Macau operations.

Equifax (NYSE: EFX ) shed 5.2% after the credit ratings firm forecast its second-quarter revenue below estimates.

Snap-On retreated 5.6% after the equipment maker missed Wall Street estimates for first-quarter sales.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., April 4, 2024. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.44-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.69-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded three new 52-week highs and eight new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 12 new highs and 166 new lows.

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