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Traders continued bidding stocks higher on Thursday as concerns about the end of the Federal Reserve's easing program faded further.
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As of 1:33 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 139 points, or 0.93%, to 15050, the S&P 500 gained 14.2 points, or 0.89%, to 1618 and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 32.7 points, or 0.97%, to 3409.
The Dow has tacked on some 250 points in the last two trading days as jitters have faded, at least to some extent, about the Federal Reserve's exit strategy from its massive bond-buying program. That has helped the blue-chip average firm up its year-to-date gains to north of 13%.
The focus was expected to remain on the American economy on the day, with several important economic reports slated for release.
The Labor Department reported weekly jobless claims fell to 346,000 from an upwardly revised 355,00 the week prior. Claims were expected to fall to 345,000 from an initially reported 354,000.
The Commerce Department said consumer spending rose 0.3% in May from April, matching economists’ estimates. Personal income climbed 0.5%, more than the 0.2% Wall Street expected.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors said signed contracts to buy previously owned homes jumped 6.7% in May, far higher than the 1% increase expected. The increase brought pending home sales to the highest since December of 2006. The gauge was up 12.1% from the same month in the year prior.
On the corporate front, ConAgra Foods (NYSE:CAG) posted fiscal fourth-quarter profits that narrowly beat analysts' estimates, but sales that were slightly shy. Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) left the bidding war over Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR).
Commodity markets were calm. The benchmark U.S. oil contract advanced 31 cents, or 0.3%, to $95.79 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline was flat at $2.73 a gallon. Gold gained $2.70, or 0.24%, to $1,233 a troy ounce.
The Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.26% to 2596, the English FTSE 100 rose 0.17% to 6176 and the German DAX dipped 0.05% to 7937.
In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 surged 3% to 13214 and the Chinese Hang Seng edged up 0.5% to 20440.