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NEW YORK: The S&P 500 breached the 4,000 mark for the first time on Thursday, powered by gains in technology shares and optimism about a pickup in global economic activity.

A mammoth vaccination drive and a massive fiscal stimulus are expected to drive a recovery in the labour market, prompting investors to look past latest data that showed a rise in the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits last week.

The closely watched monthly jobs report on Friday could show the U.S. economy added 647,000 jobs in March, on top of a 379,000 increase in February.

The 4,000 level "could be a possible inflection point where it renews confidence that this bull cycle is not over and that equities can remain resilient in the face of heightened interest rates and perhaps a not as extremely accommodative Fed policy," said Matt Hanna, portfolio manager at Summit Global Investments.

It took the benchmark index about a year-and-a-half to close the 1,000-point gap to 4,000, compared with about five years from 2,000 to 3,000 points.

The blue-chip Dow is just 1% shy off a record high. The Nasdaq, however, is about 5% below its all-time high as a rapid rise in U.S. bond yields accelerated a rotation from richly-valued tech stocks to underpriced economy-linked stocks.

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