Stocks closed firmly higher Thursday. The Dow climbed 396 points to 25558, while the S&P 500 gained 22 points to 2840. The Nasdaq Composite added 32 points to 7806.
Strong corporate earnings and easing geopolitical tensions lifted the major averages higher. The Dow recorded its best day since April 10. Earlier today, members of the Trump administration confirmed reports that the U.S. and China will re-engage in trade talks later this month. On the data front, an update showed housing starts rose 0.9% month-over-month in July, well short of consensus estimates of a 7.4% gain. Separately, initial jobless claims slipped to 212,000 in the most recent week.
All 11 S&P 500 sectors finished the session higher. Consumer Staples paced gains with Walmart surging 9.3% to $98.64 after posting its strongest quarterly revenue growth in over a decade. Industrials outperformed with Boeing gaining 4.3% to $345.98 as easing trade worries helped boost investor sentiment. Tech shares rebounded from yesterday’s weakness as Cisco Systems climbed 3.0% to $45.16 after topping Wall Street estimates.
Breadth was positive on issues by roughly 4:1 on the NYSE and 7:3 on the Nasdaq. Composite NYSE volume was more than 4.4 billion shares.
Treasuries weakened modestly with the yield on the 10-year note rising one basis point to 2.87%. In commodities, WTI crude advanced 0.8% to $65.50/barrel. COMEX gold slipped 0.1% to $1176.20/ounce after slumping to its weakest level since January 2017 on Wednesday. Elsewhere, the U.S. dollar declined for the first time in six days.