S&P Rocks, Hits All-Time High
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The S&P 500 got over the mountain Thursday, reaching a record closing high on the final trading day of the quarter.
The U.S. stock market benchmark passed its previous record set in 2007, hitting a new high some five years after a mortgage-backed security crisis sent the world's largest economy into its worst recession in more than 70 years. The S&P 500 climbed 0.4% to close at 1569.19, trumping its former record of 1,565.15 reached on October 9, 2007.
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The S&P hit a new high despite uncertainties posed by the reopening of Cyprus' banks and an increase in U.S. jobless claims. The market benchmark has gained 132% since hitting its five-year low in March 2009, a bull run bolstered by the Federal Reserve's bond buying program, historically low interest rates and a boom in corporate earnings.The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.36% to 14,578.54. The Nasdaq added 0.34% to 3,267.52. "The prior all-time high at 1,565.15 has acted like a tractor beam pulling investors toward it, and now it appears as if we have eclipsed it," said Sam Stovall, chief equity strategist at S&P Capital IQ. "I don't believe it's gone too far too fast, based on the continued improvement in economic and earnings-growth projections." Leading the S&P's strongest movers on Thursday was GameStop (GME), which reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue attributed to higher demand for mobile and digital gaming. Shares of the video-game retailer jumped 5.8% to $27.97 on the news. The Labor Department said initial jobless claims for the week ended March 23 rose to 357,000, a 16,000 increase and the sharpest rise of the year. Consensus was looking for new claims of 340,000. The four-week moving average rose slightly to 343,000, up from the prior week's moving average of 340,750. The Bureau of Economic Analysis' final revision on U.S. fourth-quarter gross domestic product showed an increase of 0.4% versus the prior estimate of 0.1% growth. Economists were expecting the revision to post a 0.6% rise in GDP.
Biogen Idec (BIIB) soared on Thursday after the world's biggest producer of multiple sclerosis drugs won Food and Drug Administration approval for its first pill for the disease. Shares of the company jumped 5.4% to $192.62. Shares of Genworth Financial (GNW) dropped 1.9% to $10 after the company said it agreed to sell its wealth-management unit. Aquiline Capital Partners and Genstar Capital agreed to purchase the unit for $412.5 million. BlackBerry (BBRY) reported on Thursday a fourth-quarter profit and said it expects to break-even next quarter, as the company continues to cut costs and implement its turnaround strategy. Shares slipped 0.84% to close at $14.44. PVH (PVH) was one of the worst performers on the S&P as shares dipped 5.3% to $106.81 a day after the company said that fourth-quarter earnings hit $1.60, a jump of more than double the same time a year ago. Shares of the company lost 5.3% to $106.81 after it announced adjusted 2013 earnings of just $7 a share, which was lower than analysts' expectations of $7.40 a share. Futures for May crude oil contracts at the New York Mercantile Exchange added 65 cents to settle at $97.23 a barrel. The benchmark 10-year Treasury was losing 2/32, boosting the yield to 1.855%. The dollar was slipping 0.25%, according to the
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