Tech stocks lift Nasdaq, S&P 500 sees its first-ever close above 5,000

  • S&P 500 ended the week at a new all-time high above 5,000.
  • Alibaba, PayPal and Disney were among noteworthy companies that reported earnings this week.
  • Technology Sector is the best-performing S&P 500 major sector on Friday.

The S&P 500 (SPX) index rose 0.57% to close the session at 5,026.61. The Dow Jones (DJIA) dropped 0.14% to end at 38,671.69, while the Nasdaq (IXIC) gained 1.25% to finish at 15,990.66.

Stock market news

  • The Technology Sector was the best-performing major S&P 500 sector mid-day, rising more than 1.5%. The Energy Sector is down nearly 1.6%.
  • Applied Materials Inc (AMAT) closed higher more than 6.8% as the top gainer in the S&P 500. Expedia Inc. (EXPE) shed nearly 18% at $131.11.
  • The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced on Friday that it revised the monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase for December lower to 0.2% from 0.3%. 
  • The US Department of Labor reported that there were 218,000 Initial Jobless Claims in the week ending February 3, down from the previous week's revised 227,000.
  • Federal Reserve (Fed) Bank of Richmond President Thomas Barkin told Bloomberg on Thursday that economic data has been remarkable across the board but noted that he is cautious about the accuracy of numbers at the turn of the year.
  • The data from the US showed that the goods and services deficit was $62.2 billion in December, up $0.3 billion from $61.9 billion in November.
  • The Federal Reserve (Fed) reported late Wednesday that consumers added $1.56 billion in additional borrowing, far below the $16 billion forecast and declining steeply from the previous month's $23.75 billion.
  • In an interview with CNBC on Wednesday, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari argued they can dial back the policy rate quite slowly if the labor market continues to be strong. "At the moment, two to three rate cuts this year seems appropriate," he added. 
  • Federal Reserve Board of Governor member Adriana Kugler noted on Wednesday that she is pleased with the great progress on inflation and added that she is optimistic that the progress will continue. "Some measures of financial conditions have eased but remain relatively tight and are consistent with continued progress on inflation,” Kugler elaborated.

Alibaba, PayPal and Disney reported earnings this week

  • Pinterest shares collapsed right after the close, as the company reported a $981 million revenue vs $991 million expected. Revenue rose 12% year-over-year from $877.2 million a year earlier, while net income was $201 million, or 29 cents a share, up from $17.49 million, or 3 cents a share, a year ago. 
  • Walt Disney Co. (DIS) reported a quarterly revenue of $23.5 billion, slightly below the market projection of $23.6 billion, per Reuters. Disney's board of directors authorized a $3 billion share repurchase program for the current fiscal year, and declared a dividend of 45 cents a share. “Our strong performance this past quarter demonstrates we have turned the corner and entered a new era of growth for our company,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement. 
  • PayPal Holdings Inc. (PYPL) said revenue rose 8.7% to $8.03 billion from a year ago, surpassing the market forecast of $7.87 billion. Quarterly adjusted earnings were $1.48​​ per share for the quarter ended in December, and quarterly net income was $1.4 billion. "We're doing a lot of things to drive change internally and externally,” CEO Alex Chriss said in a post-earnings conference call, according to Reuters. “However, nothing happens overnight. It will take time for some of our initiatives to scale and move the needle," Chriss added.
  • Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. (BABA) reported Q3 adjusted net income of RMB 47,951 million and Q3 revenue of RMB 260,348 million before the opening bell on Wednesday. In its earnings report, the company said that the board of directors approved an increase of $25 billion to the share repurchase program. “Our top priority is to reignite the growth of our core businesses, e-commerce and cloud computing,” Alibaba said, per Reuters.
  • Uber Technologies Inc. (UBER) announced Q4 net income of $1.4 billion and Q4 gross bookings of $37.6 billion. Net revenue for that period was $9.94 billion. "Uber's platform advantages and disciplined investment in new growth opportunities resulted in record engagement and accelerating Gross Bookings in Q4," Chief Financial Officer Prashanth Mahendra-Rajah said, per Reuters.

Nasdaq FAQs

What is the Nasdaq?

The Nasdaq is a stock exchange based in the US that started out life as an electronic stock quotation machine. At first, the Nasdaq only provided quotations for over-the-counter (OTC) stocks but later it became an exchange too. By 1991, the Nasdaq had grown to account for 46% of the entire US securities’ market. In 1998, it became the first stock exchange in the US to provide online trading. The Nasdaq also produces several indices, the most comprehensive of which is the Nasdaq Composite representing all 2,500-plus stocks on the Nasdaq, and the Nasdaq 100.

What is the Nasdaq 100?

The Nasdaq 100 is a large-cap index made up of 100 non-financial companies from the Nasdaq stock exchange. Although it only includes a fraction of the thousands of stocks in the Nasdaq, it accounts for over 90% of the movement. The influence of each company on the index is market-cap weighted. The Nasdaq 100 includes companies with a significant focus on technology although it also encompasses companies from other industries and from outside the US. The average annual return of the Nasdaq 100 has been 17.23% since 1986.

How can I trade the Nasdaq 100?

There are a number of ways to trade the Nasdaq 100. Most retail brokers and spread betting platforms offer bets using Contracts for Difference (CFD). For longer-term investors, Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) trade like shares that mimic the movement of the index without the investor needing to buy all 100 constituent companies. An example ETF is the Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ). Nasdaq 100 futures contracts allow traders to speculate on the future direction of the index. Options provide the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell the Nasdaq 100 at a specific price (strike price) in the future.

What Factors Drive the Nasdaq 100

Many different factors drive the Nasdaq 100 but mainly it is the aggregate performance of the component companies revealed in their quarterly and annual company earnings reports. US and global macroeconomic data also contributes as it impacts on investor sentiment, which if positive drives gains. The level of interest rates, set by the Federal Reserve (Fed), also influences the Nasdaq 100 as it affects the cost of credit, on which many corporations are heavily reliant. As such the level of inflation can be a major driver too as well as other metrics which impact on the decisions of the Fed.

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