With the financial markets closed tomorrow for Good Friday, traders and investors jumped in to buy today ahead of what is expected to be a jobs report tomorrow morning showing unemployment dropping to 6.0% (by the official measure) from 6.2% in February. The Standard & Poor’s 500 closed up 1.18%. The Dow Jones Industrial average ended 0.52% higher. The NASDAQ Composite finished higher by 1.76%. And the small cap Russell 2000 gained 1.50% on the day.
Technology stocks rallied with the Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) up 2.01%. Microsoft (MSFT) gained 2.79%. Alphabet (GOOG) was up 3.34%. Amazon (AMZN) climbed 2.16%. Smaller tech momentum stocks did even better with NXP Semiconductors (NXPI) higher by 3.35%; Twilio (TWLO) gaining 3.31%, and Salesforce (CRM) increasing 3.23%. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSM) announced a big increase in capital spending, which drove that company’s shares to a 5.51% gain and shares in chip equipment makers ASML (ASML) and Applied Materials (AMAT) higher by 3.20% and 5.93%, respectively.
Commodity stocks also signaled faith in accelerating economic growth. Copper stocks First Quantum Minerals (FQVLF), Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold (FCX), and Southern Copper (SCCO) were up 4.46%, 2.52%, and 2.27%, respectively.
The only outlier came in the bond market where the yield on the 10-year Treasury fell 7 basis points on the day to 1.67%. You would figure that if economic growth was picking up, somebody might be worried about inflation, right?
The CBOE S&P 500 Volatility Index (VIX), already showing remarkable complacency about risk in the nearer term, moved even further into complacency territory with a 10.41% drop to 17.38 on the day.