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S&P 500 rides Microsoft, Amazon to record close above 4,000

(Reuters) -The S&P 500 surged on Thursday to its first-ever close above the 4,000 mark, lifted by gains in Microsoft, Amazon and Alphabet, as well as optimism about a recovering U.S. economy.

Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet and Nvidia jumped 2% or more, with those and other growth stocks showing signs of awakening after lagging in recent weeks behind so-called value stocks expected to outperform as the economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

Google-parent Alphabet’s 3.3% rally left it at its highest close ever.

Data showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose unexpectedly last week. However, other data showed a measure of manufacturing activity soared to its strongest level in more than 37 years in March, with employment at factories the highest since February 2018.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.52% to end at 33,153.21 points, while the S&P 500 gained 1.18% to 4,019.87.

The Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.76% to 13,480.11.

With its latest record, the S&P 500 was up about 7% in 2021, and it has gained 80% from its low in March 2020.

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“We’re still bullish for this year, and we think that with stimulus, with the Fed committed to being dovish, with the economy reopening due to more of the U.S. getting vaccinated, overall you’re going see corporate earnings do pretty well,” said King Lip, chief investment strategist at Baker Avenue Asset Management in San Francisco.

U.S. stock markets will close on Good Friday for the holiday. For the shortened week, the S&P 500 rose 1.1%, the Dow gained 0.25% and the Nasdaq added 2.6%.

Trading volume on U.S. exchanges was light at 10.5 billion shares, compared with a 13 billion average over the last 20 trading days.

The Nasdaq remains about 5% below its Feb. 12 record high close, still smarting after higher U.S. bond yields hurt technology stocks.

Eight of the S&P 500 sector indexes rose, with technology, communication services and energy gaining more than 2%.

Micron Technology Inc jumped 4.8% after the chipmaker forecast fiscal third-quarter revenue above Wall Street estimates due to higher demand for memory chips, thanks to 5G smartphones and artificial intelligence software.

FILE PHOTO: A child leaps off a bench outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., March 19, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

U.S.-listed shares of rival Taiwan Semiconductor rose 5.5% after it said it will invest $100 billion over three years to meet rising chip demand.

The CBOE volatility index slipped below 18 points for the first time in 14 months, a level last seen before the coronavirus-driven global financial market meltdown in March 2020.

Johnson & Johnson fell 0.9% after the drugmaker said it had found a problem with a batch of the drug substance for its COVID-19 vaccine being produced by Emergent Biosolutions, whose shares tumbled 13.3%.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 4.16-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.14-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 29 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 83 new highs and 14 new lows.

Additional reporting by Devik Jain and Medha singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and David Gregorio

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