Nasdaq sets all-time record, surpassing high set in year 2000

U.S. stocks traded more than 1 percent higher on Thursday as the prior day’s dovish Fed statement boosted investor sentiment amid lack of developments on the Greece debt talks. (Tweet This)

The Nasdaq Composite gained more than 1 percent to top its all-time record high of 5,132.52 set in intraday trade on March 10, 2000, during the tech bubble. The closing high for the Nasdaq is 5,106.59.

The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) leaped 3 percent and Apple traded 0.60 percent higher.

“People were concerned if the Fed would be more hawkish. That shift did not occur and that gave relief,” said Adam Sarhan, CEO of Sarhan Capital.

Investors also eyed the weaker dollar, which hit a 1-month low after the Fed statement. The euro gained to above $1.14, while the yen was stronger against the dollar at 122.8 yen.

“The main catalyst was what the Fed said yesterday. That sent the dollar lower (despite) Greece on the brink of defaulting,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital.

The Dow Jones industrial average traded more than 200 points higher, after rising more than 150 points in the minutes following the open.

The Dow transports rose more than 1.5 percent, led by Alaska Air. Southwest Airlines was the only laggard, trading more than 1 percent lower on a downgrade from Barclays.

Fitness wearables maker Fitbit surged more than 50 percent in its market debut, putting the stock on track to be one of the top 10 best initial public offerings for 2015.

The Russell 2000 extended gains after setting a new all-time intraday high.

“Greece—arguably that’s the biggest catalyst we have on the horizon,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.

“I think we’ve pretty well digested a pretty consensus (Fed statement). I don’t think the Fed changed anything. That’s generally a positive,” Hogan said.

Stocks closed mildly higher on Wednesday after the U.S. Federal Reserve left interest rates on hold and said the country’s economy was likely to be strong enough to withstand a rate hike this year.

Bond yields edged higher as traders digested economic data, with the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield near 2.35 after earlier falling below 2.3 percent. The 2-year yield traded near 0.66 percent, up from 0.64 percent earlier.

The May consumer price index (CPI) showed an increase of 0.4 percent, their largest increase in more than two years as gasoline prices surged.

“On balance, I didn’t think the number was that bad. Probably a little softer than the Fed would like to see,” said Marie Schofield, chief economist and senior portfolio manager at Columbia Threadneedle Investments.

Weekly jobless claims came in at 267,000 for a larger-than-expected decline. The Conference Board’s leading index for May and the Philadelphia Fed’s business outlook indicator for June are also on the calendar.

“It does give investors confidence when you see numbers like this,” said Derek Gabrielsen, wealth advisor at Strategic Wealth Partners. “All in all, the jobless claims show strength in the jobs sector.”

The Philadelphia Fed index for June posted 15.2, above May’s read of 6.7.

Leading indicators for May increased 0.7 percent.

Read More Barring miracle, no Greece deal expected

Euro zone finance ministers meet in Luxembourg on Thursday to discuss a reforms-for-aid deal for Greece but expectations of a deal are low.

Greece is set to default on a 1.5 billion euro ($1.7 billion) debt repayment to the International Monetary Fund on June 30 unless it receives fresh funding from its creditors—the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said on Thursday in a Reuters report that there is no possibility of further delay in repayment after that date.

European stocks turned higher in the close, with the DAX up more than 1 percent after initial losses. Greece’s ATHEX Composite also held higher.

Symbol
Name
Price
Change
%Change
DJIA Dow Jones Industrial Average 18140.67
204.93 1.14%
S&P 500 S&P 500 Index 2121.94
21.50 1.02%
NASDAQ Nasdaq Composite Index 5134.79
69.91 1.38%

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded up 154 points, or 0.9 percent, at 18,091.

The S&P 500 traded up 15 points, or 0.74 percent, at 2,116.

The Nasdaq traded up 54 points, or 1.07 percent, at 5,118.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, traded near 13.

About three stocks advanced for every decliner on the New York Stock Exchange, with an exchange volume of 189 million and a composite volume of 797 million in morning trade.

Crude oil futures gained 58 cents to $60.49 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold futures jumped $26.30 to $1,203.00 an ounce as of 10:41 a.m.

Read More Early movers: RAD, LUV, CL, FIT, H, JBL, GM & more

In corporate news, Oracle reported adjusted quarterly profit of 78 cents per share, 8 cents below Street forecasts. Revenue also missed estimates, with the software maker hurt by a stronger dollar. It did, however, see sales growth in its cloud-based offerings.

Apple is generating sizable profits from sales of Apple Watch bands, according to data seen by Reuters. Many buyers of the watch are buying more than one band, according to data provided by research firm Slice Intelligence.

Southwest Airlines—Barclays downgraded the airline’s stock to “underweight” from “overweight,” saying the stock is now trading at too large a premium to its peers.

—CNBC’s Peter Schacknow contributed to this report

On tap this week:

Thursday

Earnings: Red Hat, Finisar, Smith & Wesson

Friday

Earnings: CarMax, KB Home

11:40 a.m.: San Francisco Fed President John Williams on policy

12:45 p.m.: Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester on community development and the Fed

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