The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed higher Thursday as stocks rallied ahead of the U.S. jobs report due Friday. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) surged amid more enthusiasm over its artificial intelligence initiatives while Nvidia (NVDA) also gained ground. Meanwhile, a trio of stocks held by investing giant Bill Ackman are near entries, including Google-parent Alphabet (GOOGL).
Breakouts were thin on the ground but some noteworthy names closed in on entries. Leaderboard Watchlist name Booking (BKNG), Warren Buffett-backed Snowflake (SNOW) and Ralph Lauren (RL) all moved near buy points.
This Data Drops Ahead Of Jobs Report
With monthly unemployment numbers due Friday, first-time jobless claims for the week ended Dec. 2 rose to 220,000, an increase of 1,000 from the previous week. This was just below estimates. Continuing claims came in at 1.861 million for the week ended Nov. 25, a fall of 64,000 from the previous week.
The main event in this week’s barrage of employment data comes Friday, when the Labor Department releases nonfarm payroll figures for November. Analysts expect 190,000 jobs will have been added, which would be a lift from October’s 150,000 additional jobs.
Investors want to see weakness in the labor market to help spur interest rate cuts from the Federal Reserve.
“The jobs report tomorrow is really significant, particularly the wages component after three consecutive reports of 0.2% monthly growth,” Oanda senior market analyst Craig Erlam said in a note to clients. “A fourth reading would suggest wage growth has returned to levels much more consistent with 2% inflation and may be enough, despite the still tight labor market, to convince policymakers that the next move will be a cut early next year.”
Treasury yields closed mixed. The 10-year yield rose 3 basis points to 4.15% while the two-year yield fell 2 basis points to 4.59%. The yield curve remains inverted.
Nasdaq Pops As Small Caps Rise
The tech-heavy Nasdaq fared best out of the major indexes as it turned in a robust gain of 1.4%. Sirius XM (SIRI) was among the stocks that excelled as it rose 4.9%.
The benchmark S&P 500 snapped a three-session losing streak thanks to a gain of nearly 0.8%. Kenvue (KVUE) shined as it popped nearly 9% amid a court hearing on whether prenatal Tylenol exposure can be linked to autism in children.
Small caps also rose, the Russell 2000 closing up 0.8%. Growth stocks lagged though, as the Innovator IBD 50 ETF (FFTY) rose only 0.1%.
Dow Jones Today: Walgreens Soars, Apple Stock Shines
The Dow Jones Industrial Average couldn’t keep pace with the other major indexes but still managed to gain 63 points, or 0.2%.
Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) shone brightest on the much-watched index, surging 7.2%. This allowed it to pop through the key 50-day moving average.
Apple (AAPL) was another top performer on the Dow Jones today. The stock got a boost from the broad tech rally as it closed with a gain of 1%. AAPL stock is currently trading in a buy zone above a first-stage cup-with-handle entry of 192.93.
AMD Stock Clears Entry; Nvidia Stock Gains
Artificial intelligence has been one of the hottest investing themes of the year, and Advanced Micro Devices made a bullish move following its latest venture in the space.
AMD stock surged 9.9%, clearing a cup-with-handle entry of 122.11 in the process. It now sits just past the top of its 5% buy zone.
Shares rode investor enthusiasm over Wednesday’s unveiling of the Instinct MI300X, its latest attempt to compete with Nvidia (NVDA) in the AI arena.
Nvidia stock, a member of the prestigious IBD Leaderboard list, also moved higher. It gained 2.4% heading into the close, and now sits just above the key 50-day moving average.
These 3 Bill Ackman Stocks Are Near Buy Points
Meanwhile, hedge fund titan Bill Ackman has been getting a lot of attention lately for calling out anti-Jewish sentiment at colleges. But a number of his stocks are also making waves.
A trio of issues held by Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management currently sit in or near buy zones, including Alphabet. GOOGL stock is closing in on a cup-with-handle entry of 139.42, MarketSmith analysis shows.
Alphabet stock got a lift after the firm announced its new Gemini AI model. The Google parent claims it outperforms OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 but did not comment on how it sizes up compared to GPT-4.
Another Magnificent Seven stock, Alphabet has been a strong performer so far in 2023, rising around 54%, unusual for a large company. It ended Thursday with a 5.3% lift.
Another Ackman holding, Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) sits in a buy zone above a cup base entry 2,175.01. Overall performance here is top notch, with its in its IBD Composite Rating coming in at 97 out of 99.
The third Bill Ackman stock near a buy zone is Burger King-parent Restaurant Brands International (QSR), which is in a buy zone above a cup-with-handle entry of 71.50. One reason to think twice about QSR stock is its earnings performance. At the moment it is lackluster, which is why it holds an EPS Rating of 64 out of 99.
IBD recommends buying stocks with strong earnings and price performance rather than laggards. Look for leaders in strong industries that are showing superior earnings growth and sales, such as those in the IBD 50.
Outside Dow Jones: 3 Stocks Eye Entries
Several other stocks got closer to buy points amid promising action. Booking moved in on a consolidation entry of 3,251.71, according to MarketSmith. It is also above a 3,207.32 alternative handle entry. Connecticut-based Booking is the world’s largest online travel agency by revenue.
Snowflake is near a cup-base entry of 193.94, and could soon yield a handle. Overall performance is strong, with its IBD Composite Rating coming in at 96. Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB), run by investing guru Warren Buffett, is a backer.
Finally, Ralph Lauren is nearing a cup base entry of 135.75 on its weekly chart. It is also near the top of a buy zone from a daily chart entry of 125.69.
RL stock is in the top 14% of stocks in terms of price performance over the past 12 months.
Please follow Michael Larkin on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @IBD_MLarkin for more analysis of growth stocks.
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