Dow, S&P Rally to Fresh All-Time Highs


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The Dow and broader S&P 500 both rose to new record highs on Thursday as traders cheered strong economic data and upbeat earnings reports.

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Today's Markets

As of 3:30 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 67.2 point, or 0.43%, to 15537, the S&P 500 gained 7.7 points, or 0.46%, to 1689 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.3 points, or 0.04%, to 3611.

It was a busy morning for Wall Street, with several high-profile firms report second-quarter earnings and two key data reports out.

On the economic front, the Labor Department said claims for first-time jobless benefits fell to 334,000 from a downwardly revised 358,000. Economists expected claims to fall to 345,000 from an initially reported 360,000. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s measure of manufacturing in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region jumped to 19.8 in July from 12.5 in June, beating expectations it would fall to 7.8.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), the investment-banking heavyweight, posted profits and revenues that topped Wall Street's expectations. Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) weighed in with a beat on the bottom line pared with top-line results that matched analysts' expectations. UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH), the blue-chip health insurer, also posted better-than-expected profits, but sales came in shy of estimates.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told the Senate Banking Committee that the central bank will "normalize" its monetary policy in three steps. The first step involves tapering its bond purchases, then the Fed will analyze incoming economic data, and then, finally, it will begin hiking interest rates from historically low levels.

In commodities, oil prices fell 7 cents, or 0.07%, to $106.41 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline dipped 0.84% to $3.084 a gallon. Gold climbed $3.40, or 0.27%, to $1,282 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.09% to 2684, the English FTSE 100 gained 0.36% to 6595 and the German DAX fell 0.06% to 8250.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 rallied 1.3% to 14809 and the Chinese Hang Seng tilted lower by 0.12% to 21345.

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