US stocks move higher with help from Big Tech companies

·2 min read

Technology stocks were pushing the broader market solidly higher on Thursday, as investors welcomed another reprieve from the volatility in the bond market that has dominated the conversation on Wall Street for the last several weeks.

The S&P 500 index rose 1.5% as of 11:55 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose, 342 points, or 1.1%, to 32,639 and the technology-heavy Nasdaq was up 2.5%.

Big Tech stocks, which have been hurt this year by rising bond yields, were among the biggest gainers. Apple was up 1.9%, Microsoft rose 2.7% and Google's parent company Alphabet was up more than 2.9%.

The recent return of stability to the bond market has been reassuring investors after a sudden spike in long-term interest rates over the past month prompted traders to dump tech shares, which started to look expensive after months of gigantic gains.

Up until this week, bond yields have been steadily climbing higher as investors made big bets that trillions of dollars of coming government stimulus will result in strong economic growth later this year and potentially some amount of inflation. As of Thursday morning, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note was 1.53%, roughly where it has been all week. That yield struck the psychologically important 1.60% mark late last week.

The House approved the sweeping pandemic relief package over Republican opposition on Wednesday, sending it to President Joe Biden to be signed into law. The package would provide $1,400 checks for most Americans and direct billions of dollars to schools, state and local governments, and businesses.

General Electric fell 7.2%, after falling sharply the day before. The industrial titan announced it would wind down its GE Capital business and merge its jet leasing business with Ireland's AerCap. GE is in the midst of a multi-year turnaround plan, but investors have been concerned GE has been selling off too many of its more profitable assets.

Crude oil prices rose more than 2% and lifted energy company stocks. Occidental Petroleum jumped 7% and Hess rose 2.7%.

The biggest IPO in years is rolling out Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange where Coupang, the South Korean equivalent of Amazon in the U.S., or Alibaba in China, will begin trading under the ticker “CPNG.” It’s actually the largest initial public offering from an Asian company since Alibaba went public about seven years ago. And it’s the biggest in the U.S. since Uber raised more than $8 billion in 2019.

Damian J. Troise, The Associated Press