SPONSORED:

Dow, S&P 500 set records on strong retail, jobless data

Dow, S&P 500 set records on strong retail, jobless data
© BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images

Stock markets closed at record levels Thursday following strong economic data on jobless claims and retail sales earlier in the day.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 305 points, or 0.9 percent, closing at 34,036, its first-ever close above 34,000. The S&P 500 jumped 46 points, or 1.1 percent, closing at a new high of 4,170.

The upward push follows the release of government economic data earlier Thursday showing that retail sales boomed 9.8 percent in March, well above the 6.1 percent level economists expected.

ADVERTISEMENT

The increase was fueled in part by $1,400 stimulus checks, which the Treasury Department began distributing in March following passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, as well as by states lifting coronavirus restrictions on business activity.

Health experts warn that the move to quickly reopen is fueling an increase in COVID-19 cases and prolonging the pandemic.

Jobless claims also showed strong movement, falling 25 percent to 576,000, the lowest level since lockdowns began last March.

The figure is still more than double the weekly claims level before the pandemic hit, but showed significant movement in a rebounding economy.

Updated at 4:04 p.m.