- Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.2 percent to 34,563.6, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index edged up 0.1 percent to 14,515.59.
NEW YORK: US equities got the third quarter off to a good start on Thursday, pushing past recent records with investors buoyed by positive news on the jobs market.
All three major indexes were modestly higher, with the S&P 500 adding to its record close in early trading, after the Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims last week fell to the lowest point since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
That data comes on the eve of the all-important employment report for June, which is expected to show an acceleration in hiring despite widespread reports of businesses struggling to fill open positions.
The drop in new applications for unemployment benefits last week to 364,000 was bigger than expected but comes as two dozen states have cut off supplemental government aid.
Still, with Covid-19 restrictions lifted across the country, and the Federal Reserve offering reassurances that it will not be in a hurry to pull back on stimulus measures despite signs of rising inflation, investors have remained upbeat.
"The US is looking good on a comparative basis to foreign economies, many of which are still enforcing shutdown measures to contain the spread of Covid, namely the Delta variant," said Patrick J. O'Hare of Briefing.com.
About 20 minutes into the trading session, the broad-based S&P gained nearly 0.3 percent to 4,308.99, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.2 percent to 34,563.6, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index edged up 0.1 percent to 14,515.59.
Among individual companies, Walgreens Boots Alliance fell 6.1 percent after reporting better-than-expected quarterly earnings.
Chip maker Micron fell 4.8 percent after it also reported a solid quarter and raised its outlook.