Stocks rise on Wall Street, indexes head for weekly gains

Stocks rose in morning trading on Wall Street Thursday, keeping the market on track for solid gains in this holiday-shortened week.

The S&P 500 rose 0.6% as of 10:14 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 245 points, or 0.7%, to 35,996 and the Nasdaq rose 0.5%.

Roughly 85% of stocks within the benchmark S&P 500 gained ground, led by technology companies and banks. The index is on track for a 2.3% gain this week. U.S. markets will be closed Friday in observance of Christmas.

Cisco systems, which makes routers and other computer hardware, rose 1.8%. Chipmaker Micron Technology rose 3.3%.

Bond yields rose and helped send banks higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.50% from 1.46% late Wednesday.

Banks rely on higher bond yields to charge more lucrative interest on loans. Bank of America rose 1.1%.

Safe-play sectors like real estate and utilities lagged the market.

European markets were higher, and Asian markets closed higher overnight.

Investors received several economic updates on Thursday before heading into a holiday break for markets.

The Commerce Department reported that U.S. consumer prices rose 5.7% in November versus a year earlier, the fastest pace in 39 years, as a surge in inflation confronts Americans with the holiday shopping season under way. Businesses have been dealing with supply chain problems and higher raw materials costs, and in turn passing those costs off to consumers.

The higher prices have raised concern that consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of U.S. economic activity, could soften and hurt economic growth. The latest report shows that spending rose 0.6%, well below the 1.4% surge in October.

The Labor Department reported that the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits was unchanged last week, remaining at a historically low level that reflects the job market’s strong recovery from the coronavirus recession last year.

The latest data on prices and jobs comes as investors continue gauging the potential impact from the latest surge in coronavirus cases because of the omicron variant. Governments in Asia and Europe have tightened travel controls or pushed back plans to relax curbs already in place.

Read more