Wall Street Hits Another Record, Lifted by Tech Rally and Economic Optimism

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West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, climbed 3.9 percent to $61.45 a barrel, and shares of Marathon Oil and Diamondback energy, for example, were up more than 10 percent.

The mood in financial markets also has been lifted this week by more signs of economic recovery in the United States and abroad. On Thursday, a measure of manufacturing activity rose to its highest since 1983, the Institute for Supply Management said. A weekly report on unemployment claims showed an uptick in the number of people applying for benefits, but investors will get a more complete picture of the job market on Friday when the employment report for March is released.

Analysts also pointed to President Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan, unveiled on Wednesday, as a tailwind. The proposal includes money for repairing roads and bridges, building affordable housing and caregiving facilities, and expanding access to broadband. And it comes just weeks after the passage of a nearly $2 trillion stimulus bill that could raise consumer spending by sending payments directly to Americans.

Mr. Biden proposed paying for the infrastructure plan with an increase in corporate taxes, but many on Wall Street had already anticipated that.

“Biden’s proposed tax increases have been discussed for months, so few were surprised by their inclusion,” Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management, wrote in a note to clients on Thursday, though he and other analysts did note that Mr. Biden could yet propose other tax increases — including one on capital gains from investments.
The infrastructure plan includes spending about $50 billion on the semiconductor industry, where a global shortage in chips has disrupted car manufacturing. The Philadelphia Semiconductor index rose 3.7 percent on Thursday, while Micron Technology, which posted much better than expected quarterly sales and profit numbers a day earlier, was up 4.8 percent.

The plan also includes $174 billion to encourage the manufacture and purchase of electric vehicles. ChargePoint Holdings, which has a large network of electric-vehicle charing stations, rose nearly 12 percent.

On Friday, markets will be closed in the United States, Europe and some other countries for Good Friday.

Eshe Nelson contributed reporting.

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