S&P 500 Closes Just Shy of Record High as Tech, Retailers Shine

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By Yasin Ebrahim

Investing.com – The S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed near record highs Tuesday, underpinned by consumer discretionary stocks following a rally in retailers and data pointing to strength in the U.S. consumer.

The S&P 500 rose 0.39% to 4,700.90, just shy of its closing high of 4,701.70. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.15%, or 55 points, the Nasdaq added 0.76% and Russell 2000 Futures added 0.173.

Home Depot (NYSE:HD) rallied more than 5%, to helping the broader retail sector advance after the home improvement retailer reported better-than-expected third-quarter results underpinned by higher prices.

Home Depot beat on both the top and bottom lines, with comparable U.S. store sales climbing 5.5% ahead of expectations for 0.9%.

Walmart (NYSE:WMT) raised its full-year earnings guidance and reported better-than-expected third-quarter results, but its shares slipped 2%.

Lowe’s (NYSE:LOW) and Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) were both in the green ahead of their quarterly results due Wednesday.

Sentiment on the retail stocks were also supported by signs the consumers continue to spend even as inflation runs hot.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that retail sales rose 1.7% last month above economists estimates for a 1.4% rise. The retail sales control group – which has a larger impact on U.S. GDP – climbed 1.6% ahead of expectations for a 0.9% rise.

“Despite soaring prices and deteriorating consumer sentiment, there is absolutely no evidence of consumers pulling back,” Jefferies said in a note.

Tech also supported by broader market as chip-stocks including Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Advanced Micro Devices Inc (NASDAQ:AMD) racked up gains.

Qualcomm jumped more than 7% after winning a new deal to supply its Snapdragon chips to BMW for the automaker’s automated driving systems.

Energy was also among the top sectors on the day as oil prices resumed their climb higher despite growing concerns that fresh Covid-19 restrictions in Europe could dampen oil demand.

Energy is up about 54% year to date, but some on Wall Street suggest that it may be time to take profit on the sector.

“While the energy sector could continue to perform well in 2022, we believe it is prudent to take profits…,” Wells Fargo said in a note on Monday.

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) rose more than 4% shrugging off reports JPMorgan had sued the electric automaker, seeking a $162 million payment for warrants that expired above their strike price following wild moves in the company’s stock price after founder Elon Musk’s tweet in 2018 threatening to take the EV company private.

Elsewhere in the EV sector, Lucid Group (NASDAQ:LCID) confirmed its 2022 production guidance, and reported more than 17,000 reservations for its debut electric vehicle following 13,000 reservations in the prior quarter. Its shares jumped nearly 24%.

In other news, Robinhood Markets (NASDAQ:HOOD) fell more than 3% to add to its recent losses after Atlantic Equities downgraded the stock to neutral from buy, citing a lack of catalysts for the stock in the coming months.

Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) closed flat after announcing that it intends to file an emergency use authorization for its Covid-19 treatment pill to the Food and Drug Administration as soon as Tuesday.

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