Tech Stocks Power the Nasdaq and S&P 500 Higher

Key Takeaways

  • Investor optimism following a strong financial report from Meta Platforms (META) sent tech shares soaring on Feb. 2, 2023.
  • The Nasdaq chalked up a major gain of 3.25%, while the S&P 500 closed up nearly 1.5%.
  • However, the Dow ended Thursday’s session slightly lower, pulled down by declines in shares of UnitedHealth (UNH) and Merck (MRK).

U.S. equities were mixed, with the Nasdaq jumping 3%, as shares of widely held tech firms soared on optimism about the sector following Meta Platforms’ (META) fourth quarter financial report and ahead of more key earnings news. The S&P 500 also rose, while the Dow declined.

Meta shares skyrocketed 23% after the social media giant exceeded sales forecasts, set a Facebook user record, and said it would implement a $40 billion stock buyback. Shares of Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), and Alphabet (GOOGL) also took off ahead of their after-the-close earnings reports. Apple and Alphabet came up short on both profit and sales estimates, while Amazon missed on earnings and gave weak current quarter revenue guidance. Shares of all three are sinking in extended trading. Microsoft (MSFT) and Salesforce (CRM) shares were up.

The only stock in the S&P 500 that topped Meta was Align Technology (ALGN). Shares leaped 27% as the orthodontics products manufacturer beat earnings and revenue estimates, in addition to announcing that it was buying back stock. Tesla (TSLA) reportedly is planning to boost production at its Shanghai factory because price cuts have driven up demand, and the news sent the electric vehicle maker’s shares higher. Ford Motor (F) shares advanced on the carmaker’s solid January sales figures, but they’re sinking in extended trading as the company missed earnings projections. Coinbase Global (COIN) shares took off when a federal judge dismissed a class action lawsuit against the cryptocurrency exchange.

UnitedHealth Group Shares Slump

The Dow was pulled lower by shares of UnitedHealth Group (UNH), which tumbled 5%. Merck (MRK) shares lost 3% on the pharmaceutical firm’s full-year profit warning. Shares of Boeing (BA), Caterpillar (CAT), Chevron (CVX), Coca-Cola (KO), McDonald’s (MCD), and The Travelers Companies (TRV) fell more than 1%.

Oil and gold futures slipped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note recovered from earlier losses and was down slightly. The U.S. dollar gained against the euro and pound but dipped versus the yen. Major cryptocurrencies are trading lower.


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