Stock market today: Wall Street heads higher as Nvidia shines; Japan’s Nikkei 225 breaks 1989 record

Feb 21, 2024, 9:27 PM

Wall Street continued to push higher overnight and into Thursday morning as chipmaker Nvidia issued another strong earnings report, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 benchmark surged to an all-time high.

Tokyo’s benchmark closed at 39,098.68 on Thursday. Its previous record was 38,915.87, set in December 1989 just before Japan’s bubble economy collapsed in the early 1990s.

Futures for the S&P 500 were up 1.3% before the bell and futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4%.

After markets closed Wednesday, Nvidia reported earnings and revenue that handily beat Wall Street forecasts. The chipmaker’s revenue has tripled over the past year thanks to a surge in investor enthusiasm over artificial intelligence. Its shares were up more than 14% early Thursday.

Electric truck and SUV maker Rivian tumbled 14.5% after it reported another loss and issued weak production guidance. Lucid, another electric vehicle manufacturer, slid 9.5% after it missed Wall Street sales guidance and also gave a weaker production forecast than analysts had called for.

Online craft marketplace Etsy slipped 10.9% after it missed Wall Street’s profit forecast by a wide margin.

Cruise ship companies Royal Caribbean and Carnival Corp. both jumped more than 5% before the bell.

Coming later Thursday is the government’s weekly report on U.S. layoffs, which have broadly remained low, even as more high-profile companies have announced job cuts in recent months.

In Europe at midday, Britain’s FTSE 100 was up less than 0.2%, Germany’s DAX climbed 1.4% and the CAC 40 in Paris rose 1%.

In Japan, the Nikkei’s strong performance has been driven largely by strong buying by foreign investors who account for the majority of trading volume on the Tokyo exchange.

Record gains in corporate earnings have enhanced the appeal of shares in Japanese companies. The weakness of the Japanese yen against the U.S. dollar has also attracted investors, despite prolonged weakness in the economy, which slipped back into a technical recession late last year

Elsewhere in Asia, most markets logged solid gains.

Chinese markets benefited from reports that stock exchanges in Shanghai and Shenzhen froze accounts of a major hedge fund after it dumped 2.57 billion yuan ($360 million) in shares in just one minute on Monday.

China also banned major institutional investors from selling equity holdings at the open and close of each trading day.

The moves appeared to encourage investors who have remained leery about earlier efforts to prop up the markets. The Shanghai Composite index gained 1.3% to 2,988.36 and the Shenzhen Composite was also up 1.3%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 1.5% to 16,742.95.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 edged less than 0.1% higher, to 7,611.20, while the Kospi in Seoul added 0.4% to 2,664.27.

In other trading Thursday, U.S. benchmark crude oil lost 22 cents to $77.69 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 21 cents to $82.82 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar was trading at 150.26 Japanese yen, down from 150.31 yen. The euro was at $1.0858, up from $1.0823.

On Wednesday, stocks ended mostly higher on Wall Street after a listless day of trading with big technology stocks again acting as a heavy weight on the market.

The S&P 500 rose 0.1% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average also eked out a 0.1% gain after losing ground most of the day.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite fell 0.3%.


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Stock market today: Wall Street heads higher as Nvidia shines; Japan’s Nikkei 225 breaks 1989 record