Following the lackluster performance seen in the previous sessions, stocks moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday. With the upward move on the day, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 reached new record closing highs.

The major averages finished the day off their best levels of the session but still firmly positive. The Dow jumped 322.58 points or 1 percent to 34,196.82, the Nasdaq advanced 97.98 points or 0.7 percent to 14,369.71 and the S&P 500 climbed 24.65 points or 0.6 percent to 4,266.49.

The strength on Wall Street came as traders looked to get back into action after taking a breather on Wednesday, when the major averages spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.

The advance on the day reflected a resumption of the upward momentum seen earlier in the week, which helped lift the Dow well off its lowest levels in over two months.

After a brief setback last week, optimism that the Federal Reserve will not prematurely begin tightening monetary policy seems to have led to renewed buying interest.

Positive sentiment may also have been generated in reaction to a Labor Department report showing a modest decrease in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended June 19th.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims edged down to 411,000, a decrease of 7,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 418,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to drop to 380,000 from the 412,000 originally reported for the previous week.

A separate report from the Commerce Department showed new orders for U.S. manufactured durable goods rebounded in the month of May.

The report said durable goods orders surged up by 2.3 percent in May after falling by a revised 0.8 percent in April.

Economists had expected durable goods orders to spike by 2.7 percent compared to the 1.3 percent slump that had been reported for the previous month.

Excluding orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders rose by 0.3 percent in May after jumping by 1.7 percent in April. Ex-transportation orders were expected to increase by 0.7 percent.

News that President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of Senators have reached an agreement on a new infrastructure plan may also have helped support the markets.

Sector News

Steel stocks showed a substantial move to the upside on the day, driving the NYSE Arca Steel Index up by 2.1 percent.

Considerable strength was also visible among oil service stocks, as reflected by the 2 percent jump by the Philadelphia Oil Service Index.

The rally by oil service stocks came amid a modest increase by the price of crude oil, with crude for August delivery rising $0.22 to $73.30 a barrel.

Semiconductor stocks also turned in a strong performance, resulting in a 1.8 percent advanced by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index.

Banking, tobacco and pharmaceutical stocks also showed notable moves to the upside, moving higher along with most of the other major sectors.

Eli Lilly (LLY) helped lead the pharmaceutical sector higher after the FDA granted Breakthrough Therapy designation for the drug maker’s Alzheimer’s treatment.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a lackluster performance during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index and China’s Shanghai Composite Index both ended the day nearly flat.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index jumped by 1.2 percent, the German DAX Index advanced by 0.9 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.5 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries showed a lack of direction before ending the day flat. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, closed unchanged at 1.487 percent.

Looking Ahead

Trading on Friday may be impacted by reaction to a report on personal income and spending, which includes a reading on inflation said to be preferred by the Federal Reserve.

BlacyBerry (BB), FedEx (FDX) and Nike (NKE) are also scheduled to release their quarterly results after the close of today’s trading.

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