The stock market held solid gains Thursday afternoon, trading at session highs and seemingly intent on extending a win streak.
[ibd-display-video id=3149582 width=50 float=left autostart=true] The Nasdaq composite added 1.2% while the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrial average each climbed 0.8%. The Russell 2000 lagged with a 0.4% increase.
Volume rose on the Nasdaq and fell on the NYSE compared with the same time Wednesday. Advancers led decliners by 12-to-7 on the NYSE and by 8-to-5 on the Nasdaq.
The most important element of today's trading is the behavior of the main indexes at their 50-day moving averages. The S&P 500 and the Dow remain below their 50-day lines, and after a few days of sharp gains, the indexes seem due for a break.
But the Nasdaq, which has outperformed the other two indexes, has already climbed above its own 50-day line with more energy. The Nasdaq chart is painting a more favorable outlook, at least for the short term. While the indexes are giving these mixed signals, keep in mind that the market has flashed a bottoming signal .
Technology components helped the Dow advance, as Cisco Systems ( CSCO ) led with a 4% increase to the highest level since December 2000. The network equipment giant beat profit expectations, raised its guidance and increased its stock buyback.
Beaten-down utilities were some of the strongest stocks in today's market , with the Dow utilities up 1.4%. The sector has been bouncing modestly but remains well off its Nov. 15 peak as rising interest rates caused these dividend-rich assets to lose their advantage over bond yields. The 10-year Treasury note's yield was nearly unchanged at 2.90%.
Bristol-Myers Squibb ( BMY ) broke out past a 66.20 buy point in heavy volume. The pharmaceutical company announced it will pay a record $1.85 billion to Nektar Therapeutics ( NKTR ) for rights to an experimental cancer drug. Nektar shares fell 1% but are still finding support at the 10-week moving average. Bristol-Myers is now a stock on IBD Leaderboard .
Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son (NTB) soared in big volume, leaping to a record high. The Bermuda-based bank reported core earnings of 76 cents a share, up 23% from a year ago. Butterfield cited gains in fee income from its specialized banking and wealth management businesses, plus expanding net interest margins thanks to rising interest rates.
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