Stock Market Today: Nasdaq Outperforms as Chip Stocks Pop

Well-received earnings from Taiwan Semiconductor generated a halo effect on other semiconductor stocks.
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(Image credit: Getty Images)

A busy day on Wall Street ended in a higher finish for stocks. In addition to a mixed batch of economic data, investors took in an onslaught of corporate earnings reports.  

Today's economic calendar was jam-packed. The Labor Department kicked things off bright and early this morning with data showing fell by 16,000 last week to 187,000 – the lowest level since September 2022., chief economist at Raymond James. As such, the economist does not expect the Fed to cut interest rates until the middle of 2024.

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Elsewhere, a report from the indicated housing starts fell 4.3% from November to December to 1.46 million. Building permits, which are an indicator of future construction, were up 1.9% to 1.495 million. 

"It appears that the homebuilder industry is gearing up for a spring surge, as soon as the weather improves and mortgage rates continue to decline," says Louis Navellier, chairman and founder of .

Analyst sees 20% upside for Apple stock

As for today's earnings reports, well-received results from chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSM, +9.8) sparked a rally in semiconductor stocks. Nvidia (NVDA, +1.9%) and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD, +1.6%) were two notable gainers on Thursday.  

Apple (AAPL) was also a big advancer, jumping 3.3% after analyst Wamsi Mohan upgraded it to Buy from Neutral (Hold). Mohan is anticipating a "stronger multi-year iPhone upgrade cycle" driven by demand for generative artificial intelligence (AI) features and higher growth in services. The analyst also lifted his price target on AAPL to $225 from $208, implying upside of almost 20% to current levels.

Wall Street has turned increasingly bearish on Apple stock this year, sparking a selloff in shares. In fact, heading into today's trading, shares were down 5.1% for the year-to-date. 

"Don't be surprised to learn from regulatory filings a few months from now that the smart money was buying Apple stock in bunches during this January swoon," writes Dan Burrows, senior investing writer at 49ermike.com, in "Time to Buy the Dip in Apple Stock." 

Burrows adds that, "of course, there is no bigger fan of Apple – or of buying on weakness – than Warren Buffett." Indeed, AAPL accounts for roughly half of Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway equity portfolio.

UnitedHealth sinks after Humana warning

While Apple was one of the best Dow Jones stocks today, UnitedHealth Group (UNH) was the worst. UNH fell 1.6% after fellow health insurance firm Humana (HUM, -8.0%) , citing slower growth than anticipated in Medicare Advantage enrollments and rising medical costs. 

At $510 a share, UNH has the biggest impact on the price-weighted Dow Jones Industrial Average. As a result, the 30-stock index gained just 0.5% today to end at 37,486. The S&P 500, however, jumped 0.9% to 4,780, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.4% to 15,055.

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Senior Investing Editor, 49ermike.com
With over a decade of experience writing about the stock market, Karee Venema is the senior investing editor at 49ermike.com. She joined the publication in April 2021 after 10 years of working as an investing writer and columnist at Schaeffer's Investment Research. In her previous role, Karee focused primarily on options trading, as well as technical, fundamental and sentiment analysis.