Stocks Gained on Thursday to Reach New Record Highs

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Stocks finished broadly higher on Wall Street on Thursday, adding to the gains that helped the stock market close out its best first half of a year since the dot-com bubble.

The S&P 500 gained 0.5%, marking its sixth straight gain as well as a fourth consecutive record high. It added 22.44 points to 4,319.44. The benchmark S&P 500 ended the first half of the year up 14.5%, its best six-month period of 1998, investors embraced the post-pandemic economy and set aside worries about inflation.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 131.02 points or 0.3% to close at 34,633.53. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 18.42 points, or 0.1%, to end at 14,522.38.

The price of U.S. crude oil rose over 2% giving a boost to energy companies. Bond yields edged higher and helped to boost bank stocks. Healthcare and communication companies also helped to improve the situation. The consumer staples sector was the only sector that struggled as a result of a pullback in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance.

Investors have been encouraged by data that show the country’s economy continues to recover from the pandemic. The latest weekly unemployment report showed the lowest number of jobless aid since the beginning of Covid-19.

Airlines and other travel-related companies affected by the pandemic strengthened their positions thanks to the latest unemployment data. Delta Air Lines added 2.2% and Marriott gained 2%.

Small company stocks reached better results than the rest of the market. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies added 18.81 points or 0.8% to 2,329.34.

Stocks and jobs report

Employment is one of the shakier areas of economic recovery. It lagged behind other measures such as consumer confidence and retail sales. Economists and analysts said that a much fuller and more stable recovery is dependent on more people going back to work. Last year, millions of people lost their jobs due to Covid019, and some of them are still out of work. Also, some people are not ready to reenter the workforce due to various reasons.

Investors will get the June jobs report in several hours. Analysts and investors are closely monitoring the jobs report for another reason as well. It is regarded as a potential gauge for when the Fed might start easing its bond purchases and other measures that kept interest rates low. As part of the report, investors will look to see if wages kept rising, which could add to inflation.

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