Stocks Finish Higher on Strong U.S. Data
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The major U.S. indices finished about 1% higher Thursday on a set of strong domestic economic headlines.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 123.1 points, or 1%, at 12,904, bouncing back from an almost 100-point drop the previous day, its worst session of the year. The S&P 500 rose 14.8 points, or 1.1%, at 1358. The Nasdaq added 44 points, or 1.5%, at 2960. All major sectors had been trading in the green, led by basic materials, consumer cyclical stocks and technology.
According to S&P Capital IQ, the S&P 500 was less than 1% away from eclipsing its 1363 recovery high as of Feb. 14, and could succeed in the coming weeks. However, says, Sam Stovall, chief equity strategist, S&P Capital IQ, "just as it takes several energetic attempts to open a rusty door," the index will need to backtrack a few paces before achieving the necessary momentum.
A spate of better-than-expected domestic data was lifting sentiment. The number of Americans seeking first-time unemployment benefits fell 13,000 to 348,000 in the week ended Feb. 11 from a revised 361,000 the previous week, according to a Labor Department report. Economists expected claims to rise to 365,000 from an originally reported 358,000.