US stocks rose on Thursday for a fourth straight day, with main stock indices setting record highs once again, boosted by lower-than-expected weekly jobless claims and retailer shares.
The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 62.90 points, or 0.42 percent, to 14,865.14 points. The broader S&P 500 rose 5. 64 points, or 0.36 percent, to 1,593.37 points. The Nasdaq Composite Index edged up 2.91 points, or 0.09 percent, to 3,300.16 points.
Both the Dow and S&P 500 index jumped to record highs Wednesday, after the March minutes released by the Federal Reserve showed the Fed would sustain the current bond purchasing program which has propelled the market rally.
As the market rallied to as high as it can be with almost no real correction at all, investors on the short side eventually " throw in the towel," Peter Tuchman, a trader with Quattro M. Securities Inc., told Xinhua.
Tuchman predicted that the US stock market would go higher at the end of this year, adding that the S&P 500 may break through 1, 700 points by then.
The stock market jumped right after a slightly lower opening, bolstered by upbeat jobs data.
In the week ending April 6, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 346,000, a decrease of 42,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 388,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was the first drop for the application in four weeks.
A separate report released by the Labor Department showed the price index for US imports dropped 0.5 percent in March, the first monthly decline since a 0.6-percent decrease in December 2012.
The market gained momentum from strong retail sales. Shares of L Brands and Ross Stores soared 4.32 percent and 5.92 percent respectively after the two retailers released better-than-expected same-store sales in March. In addition, J.C. Penney shares were also up 5.46 percent.
However, weak tech shares weighed on the tech-rich Nasdaq which underperformed against the other two stock indices. Global PC shipments in the first quarter plunged 13.9 percent year on year, the biggest drop in two decades, research firm International Data Corporation said in a report on Thursday.
Hewlett-Packard shares sank 6.45 percent to 20.88 US dollars a share. Microsoft shares slid 4.44 percent to 28.93 dollars a share, while Intel fell 1.95 percent to 21.83 dollars a share. Despite the continuous rally, the CBOE Volatility Index, considered the fear gauge of Wall Street, dropped 0.97 percent to 12.24.
Investors are turning their attention to J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo which are scheduled to post quarterly earnings on Friday.
In other markets, light, sweet crude for May delivery lost 1.13 dollars, or 1.19 percent, to settle at 93.51 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Thursday, subdued by weak demand. Brent crude for May delivery dropped 1.52 dollars, or 1.4 percent, to close at 104.27 dollars a barrel.
Gold future for June delivery on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 6.1 dollars, or 0.39 percent, to settle at 1,564.9 dollars per ounce on Thursday after overselling in the previous day.
The US dollar retreated against most of major currencies on Thursday as market risk appetite was boosted by the rally of stock markets and easing measures of global central banks.