Stocks finished mostly higher on Thursday. The Dow slipped 15 points to 24,999, while the S&P 500 added 23 points to 2,704. The Nasdaq advanced 98 points to 7,281.
The S&P 500 capped its best monthly performance in more than three years as investors digested a flurry of corporate earnings updates. The Communications Services group paced the gains with Facebook surging 10.8% to $166.69 after the social media giant’s quarterly release topped analyst expectations. General Electric shares rebounded 11.7% to $10.16 as the recently downtrodden Industrial company bested consensus revenue projections. Microsoft slipped 1.8% to $104.43 after narrowly missing Wall Street sales predictions, leaving the company as the second largest public corporation by market capitalization. Amazon took over the top spot, climbing 2.9% to $1718.73 ahead of its earnings report after the closing bell.
Breadth was positive on issues by 2-1 on the NYSE and 3:2 on the Nasdaq. Composite NYSE Volume was 4.8 billion shares.
Geopolitical concerns were also in focus, as the U.S. and China wrapped up their second day of high-level trade negotiations in Washington. Multiple sources reported that officials are planning a late-February meeting between Presidents Donald Trump and Premier Xi Jinping. On the data front, a report showed initial jobless claims increased to a 16-month high of 253,000 in the final week of the partial government shutdown. A separate update showed new home sales surged 16.9% in November, snapping a streak of disappointing real estate releases.
Treasuries strengthened for a second day following the news, with the yield on the 10-year note down six basis points to 2.63%. In commodities, WTI crude prices eased 0.6% on the session, but rallied more than 18% for the best January performance on record.
The Dow finished with a 7.2% monthly increase. The S&P 500 climbed 7.9% for its best January since 1987. The Nasdaq finished with a monthly gain of 9.7%.