The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied in mixed action as President Joe Biden held his first formal press conference since taking office. Boeing (BA) climbed higher, while Nike (NKE) dipped amid a backlash in China. Warren Buffett stock RH (RH) rallied from a key benchmark.
The market was still in a clearly defensive pattern, with the likes of utilities, consumer staples and real estate leading. Technology was continuing to get lashed.
Early Thursday, the Labor Department reported first-time jobless claims fell to 684,000 the week ended March 20. That is the lowest level in a year, though it is still high.
It is seen as another sign the economy is continuing to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. It came in well beneath economists’ forecast for 730,000 claims, as well as the previous week’s upwardly revised 781,000.
Biden Holds Press Conference
President Biden held his much-awaited first press conference since assuming the role. He announced a new Covid vaccination goal, declaring a target of 200 million shots to be delivered within his first 100 days in office.
At the end of last week, the U.S. had carried out 100 million coronavirus vaccinations.
President Biden claimed he has been uniting the country, despite criticism from Republicans. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he has yet to speak to the president since his inauguration.
“What I know now is I have electoral support from Republican voters,” President Biden said. “Republican voters agree with what I’m doing.”
Other subjects in focus included gun control and the surge of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. Biden said he wants to tackle immigration reform.
Border Patrol agents made around 97,000 arrests of migrants illegally crossing the border in February. This is the highest monthly total since 2019.
Vice President Kamala Harris has been tasked with tackling the issue. She has described the surge as a “challenging situation.”
President Biden also said he wants to work on the issues of gun control and voting rights. He also said he intended to run for re-election.
Nasdaq, S&P 500 Rally
The tech-heavy Nasdaq was struggling again, though it rallied off lows. It was down less than 0.1%. It remains on track to fall for the third day in a row however. Pinduoduo (PDD) was the biggest gainer, rising almost 4%, with Booking Holdings (BKNG) also making solid progress.
U.S. Stock Market Today Overview
Last Update: 1:22 PM ET 3/25/2021
The S&P 500 managed to rally out of the red, posting a gain of around 0.2%. Darden Restaurants (DRI) was the top performer, gaining more than 5%. Stocks seen benefiting from the reopening of the economy have been rallying of late.
Volume was up compared to the same time Wednesday. Trading was up just over 2% on the Nasdaq and rose 20% on the NYSE.
The S&P sectors were mixed, with more winners than losers. Materials and financials were leading. Energy was faring worst, while technology lagged again.
Small caps rallied out of the red, with the Russell 2000 posting a gain of 1.2%.
Growth stocks also managed to rally, with the Innovator IBD 50 ETF (FFTY) gaining around 0.9%.
Boeing Stock Climbs As Dow Jones Gains
The Dow Jones Industrial Average managed to climb out of the red. It was the top performing major index, gaining around 0.2%.
Boeing stock was the top performer, climbing almost 3%. This saw it move back into buy zone, according to MarketSmith analysis.
It is back above a cup base buy point of 244.18. The stock has a poor IBD Composite Rating of 30.
Warren Buffett Stock RH Pops On This
Upscale furniture retailer RH surged away from its 50-day line after besting earnings estimates and posting strong guidance.
The firm has seen demand accelerate sharply, rising 73% in February. In the first two weeks of March it was up 96%.
Management sees Q1 revenue growth of at least 50%, which was clear of consensus views for 27.3%. It also guided for 2021 revenue growth of 15%-20%. This was also better than consensus views for 10% growth.
RH stock is a big favorite among institutions, with Warren Buffett as a noted backer. His firm Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB) holds 1,732,548 shares. In total, 98% of RH is held by funds.
CAN SLIM investors are always on the lookout for stocks with strong institutional support.
Nike Stock Dips On China Backlash
Nike stock was down hard amid fears of a possible boycott of its products in China. While it rallied from lows, it was still down almost 4%.
This saw NKE stock undercut the bottom of a flat base. It also plunged close to its 200-day moving average. Nike has a Composite Rating of 52 out of 99.
The athletics apparel giant has been coming under fire on Chinese social media. It drew ire after Nike said in a statement it is “concerned” about reports of forced labor in Xinjiang.
The Dow Jones stock also distanced itself from the region, saying its products are not sourced there.
Please follow Michael Larkin on Twitter at @IBD_MLarkin for more on growth stocks and analysis.
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