Dow closes about 100 points higher, but tech sends Nasdaq lower

  • The Dow got a boost from McDonald's, which rose more than 4 percent.
  • Meanwhile, a decline in tech shares pushed the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 lower.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose on Thursday, led by gains in McDonald's. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq composite index snapped a four-day winning streak as declines in Facebook and other major tech names pushed the sector lower.

The 30-stock index closed 95.02 points higher at 25,241.41 as McDonald's rose more than 4 percent. The Nasdaq composite dropped 0.7 percent to 7,635.07 — a day after closing at an all-time high — as Facebook and Netflix both fell more than 1.5 percent. Amazon and Alphabet also contributed to the Nasdaq's losses.

"This seems like a catch-up for the rest of the market," said Mike Bailey, director of research at FBB Capital Partners. "I would expect tech to outperform from here."

Tech has risen sharply in recent weeks, with the sector gaining more than 5 percent over the past month, outperforming the rest of the market.

Tech's decline Thursday also pushed the S&P 500 down by 0.1 percent to 2,770.37 as a 1.6 percent gain in energy shares was negated.

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rose earlier in the session after Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC's "Squawk Box" that the U.S. struck a deal with China's ZTE to end American sanctions against the company. Ross noted the deal includes a $1 billion penalty against ZTE and a U.S.-chosen compliance team to be embedded at ZTE.

However, trade concerns lingered as Boeing shares dropped 1.4 percent. Boeing is highly sensitive to trade worries since a large chunk of its business comes from overseas.

Meanwhile, investors loaded up on bonds after a sharp sell-off in emerging markets, led by Brazil. The iShares MSCI Brazil ETF (EWZ) fell 5.1 percent. Peter Donisanu, a strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute, said the fall was triggered by capital flows concerns.

"The Brazilian real is getting crushed and now with the Brazilian central bank stepping in [by issuing currency swaps], that is spooking investors," he said.

The benchmark 10-year note yield fell to 2.93 percent from around 2.97 percent on Wednesday.

Thursday's decline comes after a strong day for Wall Street. On Wednesday, the Dow closed 346.41 points higher, supported by bank stocks that surged on higher interest rates amid expectations of an end to easy money in Europe. The SPDR S&P Bank ETF (KBE) rose more than 2 percent on Wednesday, marking its strongest gain since March 26.

Equities have rebounded over the past month, with the major indexes rising at least 3 percent in that time period. Strong economic data, coupled with tech's sharp rise, have helped push stocks higher.

Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett said he expects the economy to perform strongly for years to come. "Right now, there's no question: It's feeling strong. I mean, if we're in the sixth inning, we have our sluggers coming to bat right now," Buffett told CNBC's Becky Quick in an exclusive interview.

"I'm no good at predicting out two or three or five years from now, although I will say this: There's no question in my mind that America's going to be far ahead of where we are now 10, 20 and 30 years from now," he said.