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Stock market today: Live updates

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Traders react after the closing bell on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange on March 20, 2024.

Brendan Mcdermid | Reuters

The S&P 500 was flat Thursday as it aimed to wrap up its best first-quarter performance in five years.

The broad market index was little changed, as was the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The Nasdaq Composite was slid 0.2%.

For the quarter, the S&P 500 is up about 10%. It is on pace for its best first-quarter gain since 2019, when it rallied 13.1%. The 30-stock Dow, up 5.5% during the period, is tracking for its strongest first-quarter performance since 2021 when it advanced 7.4%. The Nasdaq is up 9.3% in the quarter thus far.

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Huge Q1 gains for S&P 500

On a monthly basis, the S&P 500 is 3% higher. The Nasdaq and the Dow are both pacing for advances of more than 1.9%.

Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley Wealth, expects that the market will most likely close the week out with a whimper.

“This has been a week of meandering for sure; there’s been lackluster volumes and not much volatility,” he said to CNBC. “I’d be surprised if we get much action between now and the closing bell, except for the gyrations you get around the end of a quarter rebalancing. And that usually is just around the edges and doesn’t tend to be the dominant driver.”

Driving the gains this quarter and month has been Nvidia, last year’s market leader, as the artificial intelligence craze shows no signs of slowing. The stock is up 83% for the quarter and 15% in March alone.

The early 2024 rally lifted the major U.S. stock benchmarks to record highs. On Wednesday, the S&P 500 jumped to a fresh all-time closing high.

On Thursday, initial filings for unemployment insurance for the week that ended March 16 came in at 210,000, slightly lower than the 211,000 that economists surveyed by Dow Jones had predicted.

Although the market will be closed due to Good Friday, economic data tied to personal income, consumer spending and personal consumption expenditures will be released that day.

In corporate news, shares of luxury home furnishings retailer RH jumped 18% after management indicated that demand trends are expected to accelerate throughout fiscal 2024. Nevertheless, the company missed estimates in its latest quarter and issued a weak outlook for the first quarter.

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