New York: Wall Street rallied to fresh record highs with the S&P 500 topping the 3,300 mark for the first time on Thursday, driven by a slew of strong earnings reports and economic data. All three benchmarks finished at record highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 267.42 points, or 0.92 per cent, to close at 29,297.64. The S&P 500 increased 27.52 points, or 0.84 per cent, to 3,316.81, Xinhua reported.
The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 98.44 points, or 1.06 per cent, to 9,357.13. All of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors closed higher, with technology up 1.4 per cent, outpacing the rest. Shares of Morgan Stanley jumped 6.6 per cent on its better-than-expected quarterly results.
So far, about 7 per cent of S&P 500 companies have reported quarterly earnings thus far, according to CNBC, citing FactSet data. Of those companies, 76.5 per cent have posted better-than-expected expectations.
On the data front, in the week ending January 11, US initial jobless claims, a rough way to measure layoffs, came in at 204,000, a decrease of 10,000 from the previous week's unrevised level, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Economists polled by MarketWatch predicted a 220,000 reading. Advance estimates of US retail sales increased by 0.3 per cent in December, according to the Department of Commerce on Thursday.
Trade optimism also contributed to the market gains. The blue-chip stock index ended above the 29,000 mark for the first time on Wednesday after Beijing and Washington inked the highly anticipated phase-one trade deal.