S&P hits record ahead of Apple, Amazon miss

The S&P 500 was back to record highs on Thursday, and the Nasdaq hit a record too, as strong earnings took the sting out of weak economic data.

And President Biden's signature social spending deal finally appeared to be coming together with a much lower price tag.

The Dow gained 239 points. The S&P 500 jumped 44. The Nasdaq surged 212 points.

The U.S. economy grew at an annualized rate of just 2 percent in the third quarter. That's the slowest pace of economic growth in more than a year. A drag from the health crisis and continued supply chain shortages were partly to blame.

But fresh data from the labor market suggests the economy is likely to gather steam. New applications for unemployment assistance remained below the 300,000 mark for the third week in a row.

Kevin Simpson, chief investment officer at Capital Wealth Planning is upbeat – for now – about the economy and the stock market

"I still think markets are going to grind higher into the end of the year and I know it's crazy but it all boils down to earnings, it comes down to a strong consumer who has tons of cash on the sideline, and a holiday shopping season, where we as these consumers with this money in our pockets are going to pay up and spend up to satisfy that consumption need."

In the latest earnings news, Caterpillar, considered a global economic bellwether, beat profit forecasts but sales came in shy of expectations. The heavy duty equipment maker warned it will have to raise prices to offset inflation. The stock rallied 4 percent.

And after the close, Amazon missed sales and profit forecast. The e-commerce giant also guided sales for the crucial holiday-quarter far lower.

Apple announced a rare sales miss due to the shortage of semiconductor chips, which CEO Tim Cook said is likely to be worse during the key holiday sales quarter.

Outside of earnings news, Facebook, which is facing intense scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers, is changing its name to Meta and switching its stock symbol to M-V-R-S as it tries to rebrand itself as a virtual reality company. Shares of the company closed the day up by 1-1/2 percent.

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