U.S. stocks on Thursday finished a tumultous day firmly in positive territory and the Dow registered back-to-back record closes, supported by a round of strong corporate earnings and signs of continued improvement in the labor market as reflected in the jobless claims report ahead of a closely followed employment report due on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up by about 315 points, or 0.9%, to a record at 34,546, powered by gains in Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Home Depot . The all-time closing high was the 23rd for the blue-chip index in 2021, outstripping all of the records produced in 2020, according to Dow Jones Market Data. The S&P 500 index closed up 0.8% at 4,200, while the Nasdaq Composite Index ended 0.4% higher at 13,633, snapping a four-session skid. A 1.4% rally in financials and a 1% rally in the technology sector helped to support Thursday’s advance, which came as initial unemployment claims in the U.S. fell to 498,000 for first time in pandemic era, pointing to an improving labor market but also raising questions for some investors about the specter of rapidly rising inflation.
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