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Wall Street continued bouncing back from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression in the first quarter, with the blue chips zooming into uncharted territory in the best annual kick off in 15 years.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 52.4 points, or 0.36%, to 14579, the S&P 500 gained 6.3 points, or 0.41%, to 1569 and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 11 points, or 0.34%, to 3268.
For the quarter, the Dow soared 11.3%, the S&P 500 leapt 10% and the Nasdaq jumped 8.2%.
With the markets closed for Good Friday, Thursday is the last trading day of the first quarter. It has been a strong one for equities, with the Dow surging 11% in its best first-quarter run since 1998. The broader S&P 500 has rallied nearly 10%. The Dow zoomed into uncharted territory earlier in the quarter, while the S&P 500 tilted up above its record close -- both notched in October 2007.
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Europe continued garnering a good deal of traders' attention early in the day. Banks in Cyprus finally re-opened after being closed for 11 days in a bid to avoid a deposit run. Despite strict capital controls and security worries, the openings took place in relative calm, according to FOX Business reporters and producers on the ground.
While the situation might be brightening across the island nation, the bail-in that levied uninsured deposits has sparked concern that such a solution will be a template for other countries, according to analysts.
In a sign of how the eurozone's troubles aren't confined to periphery countries, Germany, the bloc's biggest economy, saw unemployment jump by 13,000 people. Economists expected unemployment to fall by 4,000.
There are also a slew of reports due out on the U.S. economy.
A final reading on U.S. gross domestic product from the Commerce Department showed the economy expanded at an annualized rate of 0.4% in the fourth quarter, up from an initial estimate of 0.1% growth, but below the 0.5% expected. Economists at essentially every large investment bank expect growth to pick up markedly in the first quarter of this year.
A report from the Labor Department showed weekly jobless claims jumping by 16,000 to 357,000, considerably higher than estimates of 340,000.
The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago’s PMI gauge fell to 52.4 in March from 56.8 in February, missing the 56.5 reading economists forecast. Readings above 50 point to expansion in the Midwest manufacturing sector, while those below indicate contraction.
In corporate news, BlackBerry (BBRY) unexpectedly posted an adjusted profit of 22 cents a share, easily besting estimates of a loss of 29 cents. Revenues of $2.7 billion came in slightly shy of estimates of $2.8 billion, however.
Energy futures were little changed. The benchmark U.S. crude oil contract climbed 11 cents, or 0.11%, to $96.69 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline dipped 0.52% to $3.099 a gallon. In metals, gold fell $6.20, or 0.39%, to $1601 a troy ounce.
The Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.47% to 2625, the English FTSE 100 jumped 0.71% to 6433 and the German DAX advanced 0.34% to 7816.
In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 sold off 1.3% to 12336 and the Chinese Hang Seng dipped 0.74% to 22300.