Dow closes higher by more than 300 points, S&P 500 rebounds from worst day since September: Live updates

Sarah Min
Alex Harring
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. 

Stocks rose on Thursday, with the S&P 500 recovering from its worst day since September as the year-end rally resumed.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 322.35 points, or 0.87%, to 37,404.35. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.26% to 14,963.87.

The S&P 500 added 1.03% to 4,746.75. That places the broad market index about 1% from its closing high and 1.5% from its intraday record.

The S&P 500 advance was broad-based with more than 450 names rising in the index. Micron Technology was the best performer, jumping 8.6% after the memory chipmaker topped quarterly expectations, and offered current-quarter guidance that exceeded forecasts. Chip stocks rose broadly, with Intel and Advanced Micro Devices rising 2.9% and 3.3%, respectively.

Salesforce was among the leading advancers in the Dow, rising 2.7% following an upgrade from Morgan Stanley.

Wall Street is coming off a losing day when investors took profits after recent gains. On Wednesday, the Dow and Nasdaq registered their worst sessions since October, each snapping nine-day winning streaks. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 posted its worst day since September.

"The stock market went from up to down pretty fast," said Rhys Williams, chief strategist at Spouting Rock Asset Management. "And so, I just think it was a technical correction after a very strong period of time."

From their late October closing lows through Thursday, the Dow and S&P 500 both jumped more than 15%. The Nasdaq Composite surged more than 18% over the same period.

Thu, Dec 21 2023 4:22 PM EST

Stocks close higher Thursday

Stocks closed higher Thursday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 322.35 points, or 0.87%, to 37,404.35. The S&P 500 added 1.03% to 4,746.75. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.26% to 14,963.87.

— Sarah Min

Thu, Dec 21 2023 3:32 PM EST

Emerging market stocks and bonds are best of a bad bunch over next 7 years, GMO says

Emerging market stocks and bonds offer the greatest opportunity for capital appreciation and income over the next seven years, but they're the best of a bad bunch, according to Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo's latest forecasts of expected returns in major asset classes (excluding commodities).

As has been true since the the summer, GMO sees no major asset class surpassing the long-term average annual U.S. equity market return of 6.5% after inflation from now through 2030.

The firm, founded by noted value manager Jeremy Grantham in 1977, sees emerging market value stocks returning 6.3% per annum after inflation in local currency over the next seven years, up from 6.0% last August. Emerging market stocks are now forecast to return 4.7% per year, up from 4.0% a few months ago, trailed by international smallcap stocks at 4.4% (up from 3.6% last summer), emerging market debt at 4.4% (vs 3.4%), international large cap stocks at 2.3% (vs 1.6%), U.S. inflation-linked bonds at 2.0% (vs 0.9%), U.S. cash at 1.7% (vs 1.8%) and U.S. bonds at 1.9% (up from 1.1% previously).

GMO sees U.S. large cap stocks as the worst asset class with a likely real annual return of -2.6% (better than -3.0% expected last summer), followed by U.S. small-cap stocks at -1.2% (vs -2.4%) and hedged international bonds at 0.0% (vs -0.1%).

— Scott Schnipper

Thu, Dec 21 2023 3:05 PM EST

Stocks are higher into final hour of trading

Stocks were higher shortly into the final hour of trading.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 165 points, or 0.5%, while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.8%. The S&P 500 added 0.6%.

— Sarah Min

Thu, Dec 21 2023 2:35 PM EST

Rerouting of ships around Red Sea unlikely to lift inflation, Capital Economics says

The rerouting of seaborne freight traffic around the Red Sea to avoid attacks by Houthi guerilla based in Yemen is unlikely to reverse the global progress made in fighting inflation, according to Simon MacAdam, senior global economist at Capital Economics in London.

"We expect the recent rise in oil prices to prove temporary, goods shortages should be avoided, and shipping costs do not look set to surge," MacAdam wrote Thursday. "Even if shipping disruption did cause a significant increase in firms' input costs, soft demand and replenished stocks have weakened their pricing power to pass them onto end consumers."

The production of commodities won't be affected by events in the Red Sea — which leads to and from the Suez Canal — nor from rerouting shipping around the Cape of Good Hope and southern Africa, Capital Economics said. "The materials will arrive, they will just take longer to get there."

— Scott Schnipper

Thu, Dec 21 2023 2:29 PM EST

The time for the 'Santa Claus Rally' starts Friday

Wall Street will see if a "Santa Claus Rally" — which refers to the gains typical of the final five trading days of the year, and the first two of the new year — will materialize this holiday season. This year, the season commences Friday until Jan. 3.

Since 1969, the S&P 500 on average has gained 1.3% during this period, according to the Jeff Hirsch, editor of the Stock Trader's Almanac. But the editor noted a failure of the Santa Claus Rally to materialize is historically a harbinger for poor stock performance.

"Failure to have a Santa Claus Rally tends to precede bear markets or times when stocks could be purchased at lower prices later in the year," Hirsch wrote in a blog post. "Down SCRs were followed by flat years in 1994, 2005 and 2015, two nasty bear markets in 2000 and 2008 and a mild bear that ended in February 2016."

"As Yale Hirsch's now famous line states, 'If Santa Claus should fail to call, bears may come to Broad and Wall,'" Hirsch added.

Yale Hirsch, who originated the term, was the founder of the Stock Trader's Almanac.

— Sarah Min

Thu, Dec 21 2023 1:45 PM EST

Current market breakout may be a 'bull trap,' UBS warns

UBS doesn't want investors to get their hopes up just yet.

Managing Partner Michael Riesner told clients Thursday that the current leg up in stocks may not indicate a broader rally ahead. Those tempered expectations stem from low volatility and yields hitting oversold levels. Divergences within the firm's indicator work are another reason for pause, he said.

"We still think that the current breakouts is the setup for a classic bull trap instead of believing in the start of a larger breakout campaign," he said.

Looking into the new year, Riesner anticipates a reversal and negative surprise in the first quarter. He expects the S&P 500 to trade at 4,280 — 8.9% lower than Wednesday's closing level — late in the quarter.

Riesner's forecast comes as stocks have rallied in the final trading month of an already-strong year.

— Alex Harring

Thu, Dec 21 2023 1:05 PM EST

Stocks making the biggest moves midday

Check out some of the companies making headlines in midday trading.

Spotify — The streaming music stock gained 2.7% after Pivotal Research upgraded Spotify to buy from hold. The Pivotal note said the firm sees a "renewed focus on financial discipline" and it anticipates Spotify will center more on generating free cash flow going forward.

Paramount Global, Warner Bros. Discovery — Shares of media conglomerates Paramount and Warner Bros. were 3% and 4% lower, respectively. A day earlier, CNBC reported that both companies were engaged in preliminary talks for a potential merger.

Cava — Shares of the restaurant chain gained about 2% after Wedbush upgraded the stock to outperform from neutral.

Read the full story here.

— Brian Evans

Thu, Dec 21 2023 12:50 PM EST

Salesforce is Dow's best performer

Salesforce was the best performer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, up 2% in afternoon trading.

The move comes after Morgan Stanley upgraded the enterprise software company to overweight from equal weight, saying Salesforce is "building a bridge to generative AI" that will boost the stock next year.

See Chart...

— Sarah Min

Thu, Dec 21 2023 11:54 AM EST

Semiconductor stocks rise after strong Micron Technology earnings

Strong results and guidance from Micron Technology boosted shares 7% during Thursday's session, while lifting other chip and semiconductor equipment stocks.

Marvell Technology and U.S. shares of British chipmaker Arm Holdings jumped 4% each, while Advanced Micro Devices, Teradyne and On Semiconductor jumped 3%. Intel, Analog Devices and Applied Materials each rose about 2%, while Nvidia, Broadcom and Qualcomm all gained at least 1%.

Both the VanEck Semiconductor ETF and iShares Semiconductor ETF added more than 2%.

— Samantha Subin

Thu, Dec 21 2023 11:29 AM EST

Green energy stocks rise, solar ETF up over 4%

The Invesco Solar ETF (TAN) jumped more than 4% on Thursday morning, erasing its losses from Wednesday and putting the fund on track for its fifth positive day in seven.

See Chart...
The TAN ETF jumped on Thursday.

Solar stocks have been a struggling and volatile group in 2023, and TAN is still down about 27% year to date.

Among the fund's top holdings, SolarEdge was leading the way on Thursday with a gain of 5%.

— Jesse Pound

Thu, Dec 21 2023 10:53 AM EST

S&P 500 heads for longest weekly winning streak since 2017

The S&P 500 is poised to see another week of gains, extending its win streak to lengths not seen in around six years.

The broad index has added 0.3% this week, putting it on track to notch its eighth positive week in a row.

That would mark its longest weekly winning streak since 2017. During that year, the index climbed for eight straight weeks between September and November.

This rally has helped the benchmark rise near all-time high levels that are being closely watched by investors.

See Chart...
The S&P 500 this week

— Alex Harring

Thu, Dec 21 2023 10:50 AM EST

Individual investor optimism surges to 2.5-year high in latest AAII survey

Individual investors are the most bullish about the outlook for stocks over the next six months since April 2021, according to the latest weekly survey by the American Association of Individual Investors. That may raise red flags for contrarian investors who try and bet against the crowd rather than with it.

Optimism climbed to 52.9% of respondents in the latest week, up from 51.3% last week and an historical average of just 37.5%. As a result, bullishness remained above the historical average for a seventh consecutive week.

Even last week, when bullishness stood at levels last seen in July 2023, and before this latest uptick, AAII said that "optimism is now unusually high."

Pessimism about the outlook for stocks over the next six months rose slightly, to 20.9% from 19.3% last week, which had been a six-year low in bearishness. The historical average reading for pessimism is 31.0% and reached a one-year high as recently as early November, when bearishness touched 50.3% of those polled.

— Scott Schnipper

Thu, Dec 21 2023 10:41 AM EST

The S&P 500 rally is broad-based, health care outperforms

The S&P 500 rally was broad-based, with 466 names advancing in the broader index. CarMax was the top gainer, up more than 7% after the used vehicle retailer posted third-quarter earnings that topped expectations.

All 11 sectors were trading in positive territory. Health care stocks led gains, with the sector up 1% in midday trading. Illumina and DexCom were higher by more than 4%, each.

— Sarah Min

Thu, Dec 21 2023 9:39 AM EST

Carnival shares jump 6% after earnings beat

Shares of cruise operator Carnival jumped more than 6% after the company reported smaller-than-expected quarterly loss.

Carnival posted a loss of just 7 cents for the past quarter, compared to an estimate of a loss of 13 cents, according to LSEG. Revenue came in at $5.4 billion for the quarter, higher than the LSEG estimate of $5.3 billion.

The travel stock has rallied more than 137% this year.

— Yun Li

Thu, Dec 21 2023 9:34 AM EST

Stocks open higher Thursday

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 229 points, or 0.58%. The S&P 500 added 0.72%, while the Nasdaq Composite advanced about 1%.

— Sarah Min

Thu, Dec 21 2023 9:13 AM EST

Investor Sarat Sethi shares his top sector for 2024

Investors may want to consider parking their money in healthcare stocks in 2024, according Sarat Sethi.

"There's a lot of opportunity in healthcare, whether it's in life science companies, medical products, and even big pharma — all out of favor at very reasonable valuations," the managing partner at Douglas C. Lane & Associates told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Thursday.

He's also recommending that investors who benefitted from 2023's technology-driven rally consider taking profits and funneling that money into areas with secular growth and pricing power such as healthcare, commodities and energy.

— Samantha Subin

Thu, Dec 21 2023 8:43 AM EST

Stocks making the biggest premarket moves

Here are some of the names moving before the bell:

To see more stocks making premarket moves, read the full story here.

— Michelle Fox

Thu, Dec 21 2023 8:41 AM EST

Third-quarter real GDP comes in lower than expected

The third reading of real gross domestic product came in lower than expected.

Real gross domestic product rose at an annual rate of 4.9% in the third quarter, according to the third estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. That's down from the second estimate's increase of 5.2%, and lower than the rise of 5.1% anticipated by economists polled by Dow Jones.

In the second quarter, real GDP rose by 2.1%.

— Sarah Min

Thu, Dec 21 2023 8:37 AM EST

Initial jobless claims come in below expectations

Initial jobless claims were little changed week over week and below Wall Street expectations, as the U.S. labor market continues to show strength.

There were 205,000 initial unemployment claims last week, up 2,000 from the previous period, according to the Department of Labor. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones were expecting 215,000 claims.

Continuing jobless claims came in at 1.87 million, which was also little changed from the prior period.

— Jesse Pound

Thu, Dec 21 2023 8:28 AM EST

CarMax shares jump after earnings

CarMax shares jumped 7% after the used vehicle retailer reported third-quarter earnings that topped expectations. The company posted earnings of 52 cents per share, above the earnings of 42 cents per share anticipated by analysts polled by FactSet. On the other hand, revenue of $6.15 billion fell short of the FactSet consensus estimate of $6.29 billion.

CarMax also resumed a share repurchase program in the third quarter.

See Chart...

— Sarah Min

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