U.S. stocks on Thursday finished higher for the first time in four sessions, buoyed by upbeat labor-market data as investors shook off worries that a pickup in inflation could force the Federal Reserve to start reining in its accommodative monetary policy sooner than initial projections. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by about 186 points, or 0.6%, the S&P 500 index gained 1.1% to around 4,159, while the Nasdaq Composite Index finished the session up 1.8% at about 13,535. Initial jobless claims fell 34,000 to 444,000 in the week ended May 15. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal had forecast new claims to fall to a seasonally adjusted 452,000. Meanwhile, the Conference Board Leading Economic Index saw a second consecutive solid gain in April, a sign the economy’s recovery from the pandemic is gathering momentum. Separately, a Philadelphia Fed gauge of regional factory activity declined in May, pulling back from a 50-year high in April. In corporate news, Ralph Lauren Corp. delivered results Thursday morning that blew past earnings estimates for its fiscal fourth quarter, and said it may close more stores in fiscal 2022. Shares were down 9%. Meanwhile, Coinbase Global halted a six-session drop for the crypto platform as a rout in bitcoin gave way to a modest rebound in the nascent and volatile sector.
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