Gains in technology shares, as well as optimism about a pickup in economic activity, helped Wall Street kick off the second quarter on a high note.
The S&P 500 gained about 0.7% shortly after the opening bell, breaking above 4,000 for the first time ever. The Nasdaq outperformed to rise more than 1 percent as technology stocks jumped. Shares of electric-vehicle stocks including Workhorse Group and Plug Power increased after President Joe Biden discussed the details of his more than $2 trillion infrastructure plan, which would include building out half a million EV charging stations.
Thursday's session marks the first of the second quarter and of April. Historically, the month has been fortuitous for equities. Stocks have closed April higher in 14 out of the past 15 years, and since 1950, it has been the second-best month for stocks, according to an analysis by Ryan Detrick, LPL Financial chief market strategist.
The closely-watched monthly jobs report on Friday could show the U.S. economy added 647,000 jobs in March, on top of a 379,000 increase in February.
The 4,000 level “could be a possible inflection point where it renews confidence that this bull cycle is not over and that equities can remain resilient in the face of heightened interest rates and perhaps a not as extremely accommodative Fed policy,” said Matt Hanna, portfolio manager at Summit Global Investments.
It took the benchmark index about a year-and-a-half to close the 1,000-point gap to 4,000, compared with about five years from 2,000 to 3,000 points.
The blue-chip Dow is less than 1 percent below its own record high, while the Nasdaq is about 5 percent off its all-time high as a rapid rise in U.S. bond yields accelerated a rotation from richly-valued tech stocks to underpriced economy-linked stocks.
Seven of the 11 S&P sectors rose, with technology and communication services and energy gaining more than 1 percent.