Dow ends at 34,000 for first time; S&P 500 notches record as jobless claims hit pandemic low, retail sales surge
The S&P 500 and Dow clinched fresh records Thursday, after economic reports continued to affirm a healthy recovery from the pandemic, highlighted by retail sales surging in March on the back of fiscal stimulus checks to consumers and jobless benefit claims falling to a fresh low for the COVID period. The Dow Jones Industrial Average
closed up more than 300 points at a fresh milestone at 34,000, on a preliminary basis, the S&P 500 index
notched a 1.1% advance to log its all-time closing high at around 4,170 and the Nasdaq Composite Index
finished 1.3% higher at about 14,039, marking its first finish above 14,000 since February and its third-highest close in its history. U.S. retail sales surged almost 10% in March thanks to $1,400 stimulus checks paid to consumers by the federal government. Sales climbed 9.8% last month, the government said Thursday. Economists polled by Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal had forecast a 6.1% increase.Adding to the market’s optimism, weekly jobless benefit claims fell to a pandemic-era low. U.S. unemployment claims sank by 193,000 in the week of April 10, an unusually large decline that likely reflects both an improving economy but also continuing problems in processing applications for jobless benefits.