After several intraday crosses during the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) finished above 16,000 for the first time. Today's milestone move for the Dow came after a late-day slide on Wednesday. Stocks started off strong due to encouraging jobless claims reports, then took off on news that the Senate Banking Committee had cleared President Obama's nominee to lead the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, for a full Senate confirmation after the Thanksgiving break. Many on Wall Street believe Janet Yellen will continue the market-friendly policies of the current Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke.
The blue chips ending up climbing 109 points on Thursday, or 0.69%, finishing at 16,009.99. The Dow components were strong across the board, with names like Disney (DIS), JPMorgan (JPM), and UnitedHealth Group (UNH) among the gainers. The technology-heavy Nasdaq (^IXIC) was the big winner today, jumping 1.22% to finish at 3,969.15. The index, poised to top 4,000 for the first time in over 10 years, was powered by big names like Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG), and Intel (INTC). The broader S&P 500 (^GSPC) ended a mini-losing streak, gaining 0.81% to finish at 1,795.85. On the commodities side, gold slid to a fresh 4-month low, as investors left the safety of the precious metal and sought higher returns elsewhere.
On the economic front, the Labor Department said on Thursday that just 323,000 new jobless claims came in last week, below the predicted number of 335,000 new claims. In addition, the producer price index, a gauge that measures the change in prices businesses receive for their goods, matched expectations thus adding to market optimism.
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