The S&P 500 closed at a record high on Thursday, fueled by gains in Facebook following its strong earnings report, while Amazon jumped in extended trade following its quarterly report. Facebook Inc rallied 7.3% to an all-time high after the world’s largest social network beat quarterly revenue and profit late on Wednesday. It was its biggest single-day gain in five months and easily contributed the most upside to both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq. Apple Inc dipped 0.07% despite late on Wednesday posting sales and profit ahead of Wall Street estimates on strong iPhone and Mac sales. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.71% to end at 34,060.36 points, while the S&P 500 gained 0.68% to 4,211.47. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.22% to 14,082.55.

European stocks ended lower, even as bank shares hit 14-month highs on strong quarterly earnings, as a rise in euro zone bond yields saw investors lock in profits at near-record levels. The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 0.3% to 438.77, coming further off a record peak of 443.61 hit last week. Bank stocks were the best performers for the day, as Standard Chartered added another notch to a series of strong earnings reports this week, including those from HSBC and Santander. Traders cited the pullback to investors taking in profits after “stellar results”. The STOXX 600 had surged to record highs on anticipation of a strong earnings season, as well as optimism over steady COVID-19 vaccination programs.

Maltese markets meanwhile ended lower, with the MSE Equity Total Return Index closing down 0.12 percent at 8,361.05 points. Simonds Farsons Cisk and RS2 Software Plc led the losses, with both closing down 1.52 percent at €9.75 and €1.95 respectively. HSBC Bank Malta Plc led the gains with shares up 2.44 percent at €0.84. All local indexes closed lower, with the MSE Malta Government Stocks Total Return Index dropping 0.50 percent to 1,123.809 points and the MSE Corporate Bonds Total Return Index dropping 0.18 percent to 1,118.170 points.

Sources: Reuters, Malta Stock Exchange

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