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Wall Street rises on tech rally

Wall Street rises

The benchmark index ended 1.2% higher a day after closing out the first three months of the year with its fourth consecutive quarterly gain

Wall Street started the month with a milestone Thursday, as a tech rally helped drive the S&P 500 past the 4,000 mark for the first time.

The benchmark index ended 1.2% higher a day after closing out the first three months of the year with its fourth consecutive quarterly gain.

Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and Google’s parent company were among the gainers, along with smaller companies, which stand to benefit from a rapidly growing economy. Health care, household goods stocks and utilities were the only laggards.

Technology stocks benefited from another drop in bond yields, which have been leading the market for several weeks. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note dropped 1.69% from 1.73% the day before.

Higher bond yields make stocks seem more expensive by comparison, and tech stocks are among the most expensive after their significant rise last year. Microsoft added 2.8%, Facebook rose 1.4%, gained 2.2% and Google parent Alphabet finished 3.3% higher.

What a great way to start the second quarter, said J.J. Kinahan, chief strategist with TD Ameritrade. There’s money out there looking to be put to work, and with the quarter ending it looks like people are finding new ways in a new quarter to find opportunities.

The S&P 500 advanced 46.98 to 4,019.87. The index’s latest all-time high is its second in seven days. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 171.66 points, or 0.5%, to 33,153.21. The technology-heavy Nasdaq jumped 233.23 points, or 1.8%, to 13,480.11.

Smaller companies continued to notch solid gains. The Russell 2000 index advanced 33.38 points, or 1.5%, to 2,253.90.

The rally capped a holiday-shortened week for the stock market. U.S. stock exchanges will be closed in observance of Good Friday, though bond trading will be open for half a day, closing at noon Eastern.

Companies that would benefit from greater sales of electric vehicles also gained Thursday, a day after President Joe Biden outlined a number of measures to support their use as part of his massive infrastructure plan. Part of that plan includes installation of thousands of additional charging stations around the country. Electric vehicle charger operator ChargePoint rose 11.8%.

Investors continue to monitor news about how well the U.S. economy is recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, now that millions of vaccines are being administered daily to Americans as well as around the world.

Consumer sentiment has been improving along with construction spending and other measures. The improving economy is prompting investors to shift more money into companies and sectors that will benefit from people getting back to some semblance of a pre-pandemic normal.

The market has been churning while dealing with that shift as beaten-down sectors like airlines and industrial companies start to recover.

In a way, the churn has reflected health, because more sectors are participating in the moves, said Ross Mayfield, investment strategy analyst at Baird.

While investors are optimistic that things will recover soon, a lot of economic pain still remains.

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