In a positive sign for economic growth, initial jobless claims
dropped by 42,000 in the latest week, dropping to 338,000. Analysts
had expected 345,000.
Thursday is the first full day of trading since Monday, following an
early close on Tuesday and Wednesday's Christmas holiday. Volume has
been anemic this week with many traders away, a fact that could
amplify market volatility.
Nevertheless, markets' recent upward bias continued, with the Dow on
track for its longest winning streak since March. Both the Dow and
S&P 500 closed at record highs on Tuesday.
"There's nothing to drive markets decisively higher other than
continued momentum, but I don't see that stopping. It has been a
long time since we've had such an absence of headwinds," said Pete
Benson, partner of Beacon Capital Management.
Among the most active stocks was T-Mobile US Inc <TMUS.N>, which
rose 1 percent to $32.52 after sources close to the matter told
Reuters that Japan's SoftBank Corp <9984.T> was in talks to buy the
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 60.72 points, or 0.37
percent, at 16,418.27. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up
4.68 points, or 0.26 percent, at 1,838.00. The Nasdaq Composite
Index <.IXIC> was up 10.60 points, or 0.26 percent, at 4,166.02.
The S&P 500 has soared almost 29 percent this year, largely due to
stimulus from the U.S. Federal Reserve. The index is on track for
its best year since 1997. The Dow is up 25.2 percent in 2013 while
the Nasdaq has jumped about 38 percent.
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United Parcel Service <UPS.N> on Tuesday said poor weather and a
high volume of holiday packages delayed the arrival of Christmas
presents around the world. Amazon.com Inc <AMZN.O> offered
compensation to affected customers with shipping refunds and $20
Shares of UPS dipped 0.3 percent to $104.14 while Amazon was
In another black eye for the retail industry, the hackers who
attacked Target Corp <TGT.N> and compromised up to 40 million credit
cards and debit cards also managed to steal encrypted personal
identification numbers, a senior payments executive told Reuters.
Shares of the department store chain rose 0.8 percent to $62.21.
(Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Kenneth
Barry and Nick Zieminski)
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