by Sinéad Carew and Johann M Cherian

(Reuters) – The New York Stock Exchange ended higher on Thursday, with the S&P-500 briefly reaching the 5,000 point threshold at the end of the session – a first – as investors took into account quarterly results, data on employment and comments from Federal Reserve (Fed) officials.

The Dow Jones index gained 0.13%, or 48.97 points, to 38,726.33 points.

The broader S&P-500 gained 2.85 points, or 0.06%, to 4,997.91 points.

The Nasdaq Composite advanced 37.07 points (0.24%) to 15,793.72 points.

More than half of the S&P-500 companies have published their quarterly results. Of these, 80.6% exceeded expectations, according to LSEG data.

ARM Holdings jumped 47.9% after saying it expected solid demand for its artificial intelligence (AI) chips.

Walt Disney rose 11.5% after reporting the previous evening quarterly results above expectations and making several announcements: $3 billion share buyback program, 50% increase in dividend and acquisition of a stake in the game publisher Epic Games.

On the economic front, data published today showed that weekly unemployment claims in the United States declined a little more than expected, suggesting a solid job market.

During what “feels like a dormant day, there are things beneath the surface,” said Keith Lerner, co-chief investment officer at Truist Advisory Services in Atlanta. “There is more appetite for risk. Semiconductors continue to show leadership.”

Regarding the S&P-500, which again recorded a closing record even if it fell back after reaching 5,000 points, Keith Lerner estimated that this could “lead to a form of excitement, bring a positive wind “.

The main Wall Street indices had already finished in the green on Wednesday, investors having ignored uncertainty over the timing of monetary easing by the Fed and fears regarding regional banks.

However, the volatility of New York Community Bancorp was confirmed this Thursday, with a decline of 6.5% which erased part of the rebound observed the day before.

Separately, Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin said recent better-than-expected data for the U.S. economy could stem from difficulties making appropriate adjustments at the start of the year.

Energy recorded the biggest gain of the day among the major sectors of the S&P-500, gaining 1.1% in the wake of the jump in oil prices.

Among other moves of note, PayPal plunged 11.2% after a disappointing forecast for its adjusted profit for the year.

Ralph Lauren rose 16.8% following the publication of better-than-expected quarterly results.

( Jean Terzian)

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