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The Dow and broad S&P 500 slipped from their highest levels on record as traders reacted to better-than-expected data on the U.S. economy.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 40.4 points, or 0.26%, to 15637, the S&P 500 dipped 3.2 points, or 0.18%, to 1722 and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 5.7 points, or 0.15%, to 3789.
The Dow and broader S&P 500 both logged record highs on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve decided to hold off on scaling back its vast bond-buying program in a move that shocked Wall Street. Markets across Europe and Asia extended the gains seen in America's markets on Thursday, with many indexes rallying more than 1%.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury bonded yield hovered about the 2.698% mark on Thursday, down sharply from 2.85% on Wednesday morning. Meanwhile gold, which had taken a beating on the back of tapering worries, surged $58.80, or 4.5%, to $1,366 a troy ounce.
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Traders will get a batch of data on the American economy on the day. Fed watchers are once again closely eyeing incoming data in a bid to gauge exactly when the central bank will begin the tapering process.
The Labor Department said the number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits rose last week to 309,000 from an upwardly revised 294,000 the week prior. Economists expected the number to rise to 330,000 from an initially reported 292,000. The Labor Department said readings for the last two weeks have been impacted by computer upgrade issues.
The National Association of Realtors said sales of existing single-family homes rose in August to an annual rate of 5.48 million units from 5.39 million units in July. Economists expected the number to fall to 5.25 million units. The reading was the highest since 2007.
The Philadelphia Fed’s measure of manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region blew past expectations in September to 22.3 from 9.3 in August, while economists expected the gauge to rise slightly to 10. Readings above 0 indicate expansion, while those below point to contraction.
Elsewhere, in corporate news, J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) settled charges over its massive 'London Whale' loss with four agencies of $920 million. The biggest U.S. bank by assets also said it received a "Wells Notice" from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission over activities by its chief investment office.
The Euro Stoxx 50 rallied 1.1% to 2941, the English FTSE 100 jumped 1.4% to 6653 and the German DAX climbed 1.1% to 8732.
In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 surged 1.8% to 14766 and the Chinese Hang Seng zoomed higher by 1.7% to 23503.