The US market continues to deliver, the S&P 500 testing new record highs and finishing 0.4% higher overnight as the technology sector reasserts its dominance.
The Nasdaq was the standout, jumping more than 1%, with the Dow Jones notching a more pedestrian 0.2% gain.
Companies ranging from digital payments, including PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL) to social networks such as Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) are all benefiting from what is termed ‘dovish’ statements from the central bank and a pause in the recent spike in bond yields that had triggered concerns about inflated valuations.
US unemployment claims were unexpectedly higher, adding 16,000 to 744,000 compared to an expected fall to 694,000, suggesting the slow opening up and growing concerns with the AstraZeneca vaccine may result in a less smooth economic recovery than predicted.
This is highlighted by what has been deemed the deadliest days of the pandemic for the likes of Brazil and India, struggling with huge population centres and virus mutations, a long way from our almost normal way of life in Australia.
Turning to stock-specific news, identity and access management company Okta (NASDAQ: OKTA) soared 7% as the market liked what it heard at the company’s annual investor day.
Okta announced new product expansions into privileged access management and identity governance administration, expanding its total addressable market to US$80 billion.
Management is also expecting an annual organic growth rate of 30% through 2024, which would lead to a US$2 billion revenue run rate by that year.
The strength in US markets overnight provides a positive lead for the ASX, with the S&P/ASX 200 (ASX: XJO) set to edge higher when the market opens on Friday.