Stocks rallied on Thursday following better-than-expected retail sales and employment data, along with earnings from Bank of America and BlackRock. The Commerce Department said that U.S. retail sales rose a strong 9.8% in March, helped by government stimulus checks and supplemental weekly unemployment benefits. The reading was above the consensus of 5.9% growth and up from a 2.7% decline in February. First-time jobless claims fell to 576,000, a post-pandemic low and well below the consensus forecast of 700,000. Continuing claims rose to 3.731 million, up slightly from 3.727 million a week earlier and above the consensus of 3.7 million. The Dow rose 0.90%, the S&P 1.11%, and the Nasdaq 1.31%. Crude oil traded near $63 per barrel, while gold rose $29 to $1765 per ounce.
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