US stocks hit record highs amid tech rally

NEW YORK, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks rallied to fresh record highs on Thursday, bolstered by strong gains in tech sector.

File photo: AFP

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 211.73 points, or 0.69 percent, to finish at 31,041.13. The S&P 500 rose 55.65 points, or 1.48 percent, to 3,803.79. The Nasdaq Composite Index increased 326.69 points, or 2.56 percent, to 13,067.48.

All the three major indexes set new records with the 30-stock index closing above 31,000 points for the first time. The S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq clinched their first-ever closes above 3,800 and 13,000, respectively.

Nine of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors ended in green, with technology and consumer discretionary up 2.65 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively, outpacing the rest. Utilities and consumer staples, however, struggled.

U.S.-listed Chinese companies traded roughly flat with five of the top 10 stocks by weight in the S&P U.S. Listed China 50 index ending the day on an upbeat note.

The above market reactions came as the U.S. Congress early Thursday morning certified Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election, after supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, halting the certification process for several hours.

Meanwhile, investors assessed the possibility of additional fiscal stimulus after Democrats were projected to win both U.S. Senate runoffs in the southeastern state of Georgia.

"For traders, the most important story yesterday of all of the above is the double Georgia Senate win for Democrats, as it means not only a legislative majority but Democratic leadership control in the Senate," Chris Low, chief economist at FHN Financial, said in a note on Thursday.

"Still, it's not a Blue Wave, either, as both Houses of Congress are almost evenly divided, meaning it will still be difficult to move legislation," he added.

On the data front, U.S. initial jobless claims, a rough way to measure layoffs, fell to 787,000 in the week ending Jan. 2, following an upwardly revised 790,000 in the prior week, the Department of Labor reported on Thursday. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected a print of 815,000. Yet, the reading is still well above the pre-pandemic level.