S&P 500, Dow at all-time highs after strong jobs data

(Reuters) – The S&P 500 and the Dow hit record highs on Monday as investors cheered strong jobs data and looked for a report on the services sector with signals that 2021 could see the best annual economic growth in nearly four decades.

FILE PHOTO: A U.S. flag flies outside The Federal Reserve Bank of New York in New York City, U.S., March 29, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

An ISM survey for March is likely to show a jump in activity in the services sector, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity. The data is due at 10 a.m. ET (1400 GMT).

The domestically focused small-cap Russell 2000 index rose 0.6% as Friday’s report showed U.S. nonfarm payrolls surged by 916,000 jobs in March, well above 647,000 forecast by a Reuters poll of economists.

“If you had said a year ago that we would be where we are now, no one would have believed you,” said Thomas Hayes, chairman, Great Hill Capital LLC, New York.

“On the one hand, you have concerns about potential (interest) rate rise sooner than promised. At the same time, there is starting to be a little understanding that perhaps earnings estimates are too low.”

Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors rose, with consumer discretionary, industrials, financials and communication services leading gains. Energy dropped, tracking a fall in oil prices as producers decided to increase output. [O/R]

With speedy vaccinations and additional government stimulus helping the S&P 500 and the Dow clinch all-time highs, investors will now look to progress on a massive infrastructure plan and the upcoming corporate earnings season for insight on the sustainability of the rally.

The Nasdaq is still about 5% below its record peak from February as high-growth tech stocks attempted to recover from a pullback after a spike in bond yields.

At 9:42 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 303.10 points, or 0.91%, at 33,456.31, the S&P 500 was up 34.30 points, or 0.85%, at 4,054.17, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 110.71 points, or 0.82%, at 13,590.81.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Monday will call for a global minimum corporate tax rate, in a speech to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, according to a report by news website Axios.

Tesla Inc shares surged 6% after the world’s most valuable automaker posted record deliveries. [nL4N2LY124]

GameStop Corp’s shares tumbled 13% after the video game retailer said it may sell up to $1 billion worth of stock as it takes advantage of a dizzying rally in its shares this year on the back of a Reddit-driven retail trading frenzy.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.64-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.87-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 63 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 97 new highs and two new lows.

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