The U.S. economy continues to outdo expectations helping the stock market push back toward all-time highs set earlier this month.
Housing starts jumped 5.7 percent to 1.235 million units last month, significantly higher than expected and the labor market continued to show surprising strength. Jobless claims fell to 212,000 last week versus estimates of 220,000, according to data from the Labor Department.
The stock indexes all had solid gains today. The Dow and S&P indexes were up 0.84 percent and 0.89 percent respectively while the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.97 percent. The Entrepreneur Index™ closed the day up 0.95 percent with strength across most sectors of the market.
After diving on Monday when China imposed retaliatory tariffs on American goods, technology stocks have been on a roll with the FAANG stocks leading the way. All four on the Entrepreneur Index™ were up today with Amazon (1.87 percent) and Alphabet Inc. (1.27 percent) rising the most. Software makers Adobe Systems Inc. (2.43 percent) and salesforce.com (2.21 percent) had the biggest gains in the sector.
The strong economic data today sent interest rates up modestly, helping banks and other financial stocks. Capital One Financial, gained 1.79 percent and is now up 20.4 percent on the year. Homebuilders also jumped on the housing starts number. D.R. Horton Inc. was up 2.07 percent.
Walmart delivered solid financial results this morning despite two weak months for U.S. retail sales last quarter. The stock was up more than three percent in the morning but closed with a gain of 1.43 percent. Same store sales in the U.S. grew nicely and Walmart beat earnings estimates by ten percent. It did miss on revenues, blaming currency translation for weak international sales. The company also warned that tariffs on Chinese produced goods would result in higher prices for U.S. consumers.
The world's biggest retailer also said that shoes specifically would likely rise in price due to the tariffs. That put a charge in shoemaker stocks. Under Armour Inc. was up 2.43 percent today. Shares in the apparel and shoemaker are up 23.8 percent this year.
Semiconductor chip-maker Analog Devices had the biggest decline on the Entrepreneur Index™ today, dropping 2.96 percent. The company has had a nice rebound this year, rising 22 percent. However, the escalation of trade tensions has hit the chip sector recently. It appears that President Trump's declaration of a national emergency over threats to American technology -- specifically from China -- hit Analog Devices' stock today. Chinese telecom manufacturer Huawei, a significant customer of the company, was placed on the Bureau of Industry and Security Entity List by the Commerce Department.
Tesla shares were down 1.56 percent after it was reported that a third fatal crash potentially involving the company's Autopilot system occurred on March 1. Tesla's senior director of communications Dave Arnold also announced his departure from the company.
The Entrepreneur Index™ collects the top 60 publicly traded companies founded and run by entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurial spirit is a valuable asset for any business, and this index recognizes its importance, no matter how much a company has grown. These inspirational businesses can be tracked in real time on Entrepreneur.com.