Market Update: S&P 500 Joins Dow in Record Territory; XRP Leads Cryptocurrencies to Stability

Bull pattern

U.S. stocks advanced sharply on Thursday, as pro-growth optimism helped investors set aside fears of a prolonged trade between the world’s biggest superpowers. Meanwhile, the cryptocurrency market held its ground for a second consecutive day as XRP extended its rally following a series of business announcements earlier in the week.

Stocks Notch New Highs

All of Wall Street’s major indexes finished in positive territory, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average notching its second straight record high. The blue-chip average gained 251.22 points, or 1%, to 26,656.98. Nearly all 30 index members finished with gains, led by Intel Corp (INTC) and Wallgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (WBA).

The broader S&P 500 Index added 0.8% to close at 2,930.75, which was also a record high. Shares of consumer staples, technology and materials companies were the best performers percentage-wise.

Big gains in tech lifted the Nasdaq Composite Index sharply higher. The index rose 1% to 8,028.23.

U.S. Economy Humming Along

A strong domestic economy has fueled Wall Street’s stellar third quarter. The momentum streak has continued in September, a historically volatile month for stocks.

The U.S. economy under President Trump is the strongest it has been in years, with unemployment falling to nearly two-decade lows and economic output expanding at the fastest pace since 2014. On Thursday, the Labor Department added to the optimism by announcing that initial jobless claims fell to nearly five-decade lows.

The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits declined to a seasonally adjusted 201,000 in the latest week. Labor’s most recent nonfarm payrolls report highlighted a tighter jobs market and noticeable pick-up in wages for the month of September.

XRP Boosts Crypto Values

The combined value of all digital currencies held firmly above $200 billion on Thursday after XRP added $2 billion to its market cap. The third-largest cryptocurrency is surging on reports that Ripple, its parent company, is embarking on several commercialization initiatives.

A Ripple executive announced this week that the company will soon launch a cryptocurrency-focused product based on xRapid, the highly touted settlement service. Meanwhile, on Wednesday, American   banking giant PNC announced it had joined a long list of financial institutions to start using Ripple’s payment products.

XRP jumped nearly 20% to $0.388, bringing its total market capitalization to $14.4 billion.

After a volatile Wednesday evening, bitcoin was back in a stable trading range and holding above $6,400. BTC plunged suddenly to $6,100 on Wednesday before quickly recouping its losses.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi