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Tech Leads Wall Street Higher, S&P 500 Sets Record High

Stocks traded higher Thursday after the Federal Reserve indicated it wasn’t close to ending its accommodative policy.

Equities held higher even after the number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits rose unexpectedly last week to 744,000, pointing to an uneven U.S. labor market recovery.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 13 points, or 0.04%, to 33,459, the S&P rose 0.37% and set an intraday record high during the session. The Nasdaq jumped 0.91% on gains in Apple  (AAPL) – Get Report and Amazon.com  (AMZN) – Get Report.

In the minutes from its March meeting, the Fed said it would be some time before conditions were met that would warrant a scaling back of its monthly asset purchases of $120 billion or a boost in short-term interest rates from nearly zero.

The Fed noted Wednesday that the economy was “a long way” from its goals of maximum employment and inflation of 2%.

“The economy is continuing to improve, although it’s an uneven recovery both in terms of the job market as well as in terms of geographic diversity of outcomes and that’s to be expected given that conditions on the ground are fluid,” said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for Independent Advisor Alliance.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Thursday in a virtual meeting of the International Monetary Fund that the global recovery “remains uneven and incomplete.” 

He said a return to full economic activity won’t happen until the COVID-19 pandemic is controlled everywhere.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields ticked lower Thursday to 1.635%.

Stocks ended mixed Wednesday with the S&P 500 closing at a record high of 4,079 – its 18th record close of 2021 – and the Dow gaining 0.05% to 33,446. The Nasdaq slipped 0.07%.

Low Volume and Lack of Energy Present Obstacles for Traders

Shares of Apple rose 1.42% Thursday despite a report that said production of some MacBooks and iPads has been postponed because of the global chip shortage.

Chip shortages have caused delays in a key step in MacBook production – the mounting of components on printed circuit boards before final assembly, sources told Nikkei Asia. Some iPad assembly was postponed because of a shortage of displays and display components, sources said.