• The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by as much as 260 points on Thursday.
  • Investors are still hopeful that a new stimulus bill is in the works, even after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated that Democrats and Republicans are still far apart on a new deal.
  • Jobless claims hold above 800,000 for the fifth straight week, reflecting a tepid labor market recovery.

The Dow and broader U.S. stock market traded higher on Thursday, as investors remained cautiously optimistic that lawmakers were progressing towards a new coronavirus stimulus bill.

Dow, S&P 500, Nasdaq Rally

All of Wall Street’s major indexes opened higher on Thursday, mirroring a positive pre-market session for stock futures. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by as much as 260 points before paring gains.

Dow Jones, DJIA
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is on pace for its fifth gain in six days. | Chart: Yahoo Finance

Dow blue-chips Microsoft, American Express, and Goldman Sachs were the top performers.

The broad S&P 500 Index of large-cap stocks gained 0.7%, with ten of 11 primary sectors reporting gains. The S&P 500’s consumer discretionary index led the advance, followed closely by information technology and communication services.

Rising tech stocks pushed the Nasdaq Composite Index higher. The tech-heavy index rose 1% on Thursday.

Investors remain cautiously optimistic about a new stimulus deal after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Republicans are working on a $1.5 trillion relief package to counter the Democrats’ $2.2 trillion proposal. Watch the video below:

Jobless Claims Hold Steady; Consumer Data Mixed

On the data front, U.S. jobless claims held above 800,000 for a fifth consecutive week, highlighting the fragile nature of the recovery.

The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits declined by 36,000 to a seasonally adjusted 837,000 for the week ended Sept. 26, the Department of Labor reported Thursday. Continuing claims fell to 11.767 million for the week ended Sept. 19, down from 12.747 million.

On Wednesday, payroll processor ADP reported a net increase of 749,000 private-sector jobs in September, much higher than expected. The Labor Department will release the official September jobs report on Friday. Watch the video below:

In a separate report on Thursday, the Commerce Department reported that U.S. personal sending rose 1% in August, but that personal income fell 2.7%. August incomes were under pressure because of a reduction in government aid for unemployed workers.



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