Stock Market Today: Dow closes higher as big tech flexes muscles

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Written By Pinang Driod

© Reuters.

Investing.com — The Dow closed higher Thursday, overcoming an intraday stumble as big tech resumed its climb higher, powered by a rally in Apple and chip stocks. 

By 16:00 ET (21:00 GMT), the was up 201 points, or 0.5%, while was up 0.9%, climbed 1.4%.

Apple, chip stocks lead tech higher 

Apple Inc (NASDAQ:) rose more than 4% after Bank of America upgraded its rating on the stock to buy from neutral on optimism that the need for the latest hardware to support artificial intelligence features on iPhones will drive more users to upgrade from earlier iPhone models. 

As well as iPhone upgrade optimism, growth in services will likely also continue, spurred by progress in several categories including advertising and health and fitness, BofA added, as it upgraded its price target on the stock to $225 from $200. 

Google-parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:) rose more than 1% as investors cheered media reports that company is eyeing further job cuts as part of a move to help simplify operations and increase velocity in some areas.

Semiconductor stocks were also in favor, underpinned by rally in Advanced Micro Devices Inc (NASDAQ:), NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:) Corporation (NASDAQ:) and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (NYSE:), with the latter up more than 9% after delivering an upbeat outlook following quarter results that topped Wall Street estimates. 

Initial jobless claims sink to lowest level since 16 months to rein in early rate-cut calls

for state unemployment benefits dropped 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 187,000 for the week ended Jan. 13, the lowest level since September 2022.

The data pointing to ongoing strength in the labor market that threatens to boost wage pressures and inflation dented for Fed cut in March.  

Atlanta Fed President said Thursday he moved up his timeline on when the Fed should begin to cut rates to the third quarter of this year from the fourth quarter, citing “unexpected progress on inflation and economic activity.”

Discover Financial Services falters on earnings stage; Humana warns on profit 

Discover Financial Services (NYSE:) stock slumped 10% after the credit card lender reported a steep decline in fourth-quarter net income due in part to higher compliance-related expenses.

Humana Inc (NYSE:), meanwhile, fell 8% to a new 52-week low after the health insurance company cut its annual profit outlook, forecasting adjusted EPS of $26.09, down from prior guidance of at least $28.26, as higher medical costs weighed. 

Energy stocks slip despite jump in oil prices on demand optimism

Energy stocks closed just below the flatline even as oil prices rose as fears about weaker demand were eased after the International Energy Agency rolled out a stronger growth forecast for oil demand.

The IEA said it now sees global oil consumption will rise by 1.24 million barrels per day in 2024, up by 180,000 bpd from its previous projection. 

Adding to sentiment on oil prices, U.S. weekly  fell more than expected, though gasoline and distillate stockpiles surprised to the upside. 

(Peter Nurse, Oliver Gray contributed to this article.)

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