U.S. stocks traded in record territory on Thursday, with the blue-chip Dow index headed for its fifth straight gain and another record close while the S&P 500 index was trading above its own record closing peak for the first time in about a month.
This is due to the easing worries about rising inflation, as well as a bigger-than-expected fall in weekly jobless claims reinforcing expectations of a labor market recovery.
Markets held onto overnight gains after a weekly report on Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level since early November, amid COVID-19 vaccine distribution and another Congressional fiscal aid package, a year after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
“The drop in jobless claims is another win for the week and a solid sign that we’re making some strides toward pre-pandemic life,” said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E*TRADE Financial.
Investors were also parsing a monetary policy update from the European Central Bank a week ahead of the Federal Reserve’s meeting.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 321 points, or 0.99 percent, to 32,618.32, beating its intraday all-time high at 32,557.94. The S&P 500 gained 1.45 percent or 56.86 points to a new record high of 3954.78. The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose by 318 points or 2.4 percent to 13,385.