Stock Market Today: S&P 500, Nasdaq Finish the Week at New Highs

Dell was one of the best-performing stocks Friday after the PC maker hiked its dividend by 20%.

Blue stock market chart with teal bars and moving average going higher
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A slow start for stocks turned into a fine finish Friday as investors took in a raft of economic data and cheered news that the government had once again avoided a shutdown.  

Friday's economic calendar was full thanks to a handful of updates on the manufacturing sector and several Fed officials speaking throughout the day. Most notable was the Institute for Supply Management's Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), which fell 1.3% from January to February to land at 47.8%. This is the 16th straight month the index has been below the 50 level, which indicates contraction.

In addition to softening demand, "the production gauge slipped back into contraction territory after expanding in January, while the employment index contracted for the fifth straight month, pointing to a drop in manufacturing payrolls in February," says Jay Hawkins, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets. The economist thinks the manufacturing sector will continue to struggle until the Fed starts cutting interest rates.

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Dell soars after earnings, dividend hike

In single-stock news, Dell (DELL) surged 31.5% after the PC maker reported earnings. In its fourth quarter, Dell reported higher-than-expected earnings of $2.20 per share on $22.3 billion in revenue. The company credited "strong AI-optimized server momentum" for its strong results, with orders up 40% from Q3 and Dell's backlog nearly doubling. 

Moreover, Dell hiked its annual dividend by 20% to $1.78 per share.

"Dell in our view is uniquely positioned for the generative AI opportunity because it operates on 'both sides of the fence' between the PC market and the enterprise IT infrastructure market," says Argus Research analyst Jim Kelleher (Buy). For the current fiscal year, Kelleher expects "PC growth and favorable mix, enterprise recovery, and AI acceleration to drive full-year revenue recovery and margin expansion." 

NYCB stock notches lowest close in 27 years

On the other hand, New York Community Bank (NYCB) tumbled 26% to $3.545 – its lowest close since January 1997 – following several concerning headlines. The regional bank said Thursday that Alessandro DiNello will replace Thomas Cangemi as CEO, effective immediately. 

Separately, the company said in a regulatory filing that management "identified material weaknesses in the Company's internal controls related to internal loan review, resulting from ineffective oversight, risk assessment and monitoring activities." NYCB added that it will unveil a remediation plan to address these "material weaknesses" in an upcoming filing.

The embattled bank stock's woes began in late January when the company posted a surprise quarterly loss and slashed its dividend due to an unexpected surge in loan-loss reserves. 

"The comments from the bank over the past month have been demonstrating they were struggling to meet the new reserve requirements mandated after the acquisition [of Signature Bank in March 2023]," says Brian Mulberry, client portfolio manager at Zacks Investment Management. "Because their balance sheet basically doubled, they crossed into a different threshold of reserve requirement and the CEO seemed unaware that outcome would be such a burden." 

As for the main indexes, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2% to 39,087, while the S&P 500 (+0.8% at 5,137) and the Nasdaq Composite (+1.1% at 16,274) notched new record closes.

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Karee Venema
Senior Investing Editor,

With over a decade of experience writing about the stock market, Karee Venema is the senior investing editor at 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.