The Nasdaq composite breached the 9,000 threshold for the first time in history on Thursday, benefiting from Amazon’s record-breaking holiday sales and a year-end stock-market rally.
The S&P 500 also surged to a record high, climbing as holiday-season sales figures revealed strong consumer activity and growing popularity in online shopping. Trading volumes are expected to fall under average this week because of an early market close on Tuesday and Christmas.
Here’s how the three major stock indexes performed Thursday as of 3:20 p.m. ET:
Amazon stock jumped as much as 4.2% on Thursday after announcing it enjoyed a “record-breaking” holiday-shopping season. The e-commerce giant said “billions of items were purchased” during the Thanksgiving to Christmas period, along with “tens of millions of Amazon devices” worldwide. More than 5 million new customers started Prime free trials or paid memberships, the company added in a statement.
Amazon traded at $1,867.46 per share as of 3:20 p.m. ET, up about 24% year to date and hitting its highest level since July 31.
E-commerce sales soared 18.8% year over year through the holiday season despite the period’s shorter duration, a Mastercard report said on Thursday. Thanksgiving arrived six days later in November compared with 2018, leaving retailers with less time to drive revenue and off-load inventory. Total retail sales grew 3.4% in the holiday season, further supporting strong spending trends and economic optimism among consumers.
Equity indexes weren’t the only vehicles to soar in Thursday trading. Gold, a popular hedge bet for investors expecting increased market volatility, broke through the key psychological trading barrier of $1,500 per ounce. The gain comes as traders shift positions for 2020 and mull whether the Federal Reserve will hold off from further rate cuts in the new year. The precious metal’s value is up about 17% year to date, putting it on pace for its best yearly performance since 2010.
The three key indexes have all posted new highs throughout December, marking a sharp contrast to the year-end performance in 2018. Markets tanked in the year-ago period, with the S&P 500 recording its worst December since 1931 and closing the year down 6%.
The S&P 500 is now on track for a 29% gain year to date, less than 1 percentage point from notching its best performance since 1997.
The Nasdaq composite boasts an even more impressive performance, up about 36% year to date. The index is up the most since 2013.
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