The Nasdaq Composite Index recorded its sixth straight record close on Thursday, buoyed by gains in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.
The technology-rich index posted the narrowest of gains, edging up 0.1% to 6,390.00. In doing so, it recorded its tenth straight gain, or the longest winning streak since February 2015.
On the most active stocks list, a total of 1,527 Nasdaq-listed companies finished higher. On the flip side, the index registered 1,341 losers.
The large-cap S&P 500 Index pared gains to finish flat at 2,473.45. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.1% to 21,611.78 after insurer Travelers Cos posted disappointing quarterly earnings.
Earlier this week, all three of Wall Street’s major indexes traded at record highs.
Volatility at Multi-Decade Lows
A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX declined further on Thursday and approached its lowest level since 1993. The so-called “fear index,” which trades on a scale of 1-100, closed at 9.58.
Earlier this year, the volatility gauge fell to 9.37, its lowest since 1993.
A VIX reading below 20 normally implies bullishness for the U.S. stock market.
Earnings Season Lifts Equities
Wall Street’s latest record-setting rally comes at the beginning of second-quarter earnings season. As of Friday, only 6% of S&P 500 companies had reported quarterly results, with 80% reporting earnings that were above the consensus estimate.
At this time last year, Wall Street was struggling with a so-called profit recession, as a strong dollar and plunging oil prices dragged on the major indexes.
Earnings continue on Friday with Dow blue-chip General Electric Co scheduled to report. Quarterly results will continue to dominate the headlines next week.
Nasdaq Composite Index