Dow Strikes New High in Data-Induced Rally


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The blue-chip average lurched up to a fresh all-time high Thursday as traders cheered the latest round of bullish economic data.

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Today's Markets

As of 2:25 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 120 points, or 0.73%, to 16477, the S&P 500 advanced 8.3 points, or 0.45%, to 1842 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 10.9 points, or 0.26%, to 4166.

Santa Claus made his way to Wall Street. Stocks zipped higher on the day amid better-than-expected data on the American labor market. However, trading volume was very thin, which often exacerbates moves.

The Labor Department reported 338,000 people filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week -- down sharply from 380,000 the week prior. Indeed, it was the biggest drop since November 2012.

Still, economists at Goldman Sachs, among other investment banks, warned clients not to look too closely at the volatile weekly figures.

"The Labor Department again noted that seasonal adjustment of jobless claims is difficult around the holidays," Goldman cautioned in an email to clients.

On the corporate front, UPS (NYSE:UPS) said it missed some air shipments ahead of Christmas as a result of an unexpectedly steep surge in traffic volume. The move forced (NASDAQ:AMZN) to offer affected customers $20 gift cards.

Morgan Stanley's (NYSE:MS) wealth management division faced a technology snafu that affected the process of re-balancing customer accounts, according to a person familiar with the matter. BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) co-founder Mike Lazaridis cut his stake in the embattled smartphone maker and ditched his buyout plans.

In commodities, U.S. crude oil futures climbed 21 cents, or 0.22%, to $99.45 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline rose 0.56% to $2.831 a gallon. Gold advanced $8, or 0.66%, to $1,211 a troy ounce.

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