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Dow Closes at Record High as Retail Stocks Rejoice

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a record high Thursday as jobless claims fell the most in a year and holiday spending data boosted retail stocks.

  • By market close, the Dow added 0.75% to 16,479.76, a record closing high while capping its strongest six-day run since August 2010.
  • The S&P 500 had gained 0.47% to 1,842.02 and the Nasdaq was up 0.28% to 4,167.18.
  • Keith Bliss, senior vice president at Cuttone & Co., says momentum from the so-called 'Santa Claus' rally could push the S&P 500 past 1850. Markets have been moving steadily higher over the latter half of December. 
  • Retail names such as J.C. Penney (JCP), Macy's (M) and Target (TGT) gained on the data, adding 2.5%, 0.23% and 1.3%, respectively. 
  • On Tuesday, the U.S. Census Bureau reported a 3.5% rise in durable-goods orders over November, adding to the U.S. market's levity. New home sales for November rose to 464,000, higher than economists' expectations of 450,000.
  • Shipping company UPS  (UPS) said it was inundated with a high volume of packages over Christmas, causing many to miss their intended arrival date. As compensation, Amazon  (AMZN) offered affected customers refunds and $20 gift vouchers. UPS added 0.2%, while Amazon gained 1.3%.
  • BP  (BP) has gained 0.8% to $47.97, despite news a U.S. federal judge had dismissed the oil giant's claims to recover money lost during the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
  • According to Reuters sources, Japan's SoftBank is contemplating a possible acquisition of T-Mobile (TMUS) and is currently discussing funding with several banks. T-Mobile moved 2.3% higher on the rumors.
  • Continuing its week-long rally, Twitter  (TWTR) had added 4.8% to $73.71, a record high since floating in early November. 
  • Global markets shared in the continued upward march of equity markets with the FTSE 100 advancing 0.23%, France's CAC 40 adding 0.07% and Germany's DAX up 0.94%.
  • Weekly jobless claims dropped 42,000 last week to a seasonally-adjusted 338,000. This marks the biggest drop since November 2012, though the figures are subject to increased volatility over the holiday season. The U.S. Labor Department reported the four-week average rose 4,250 to 348,000.
  • Despite fears retailers were in for a rough holiday season, MasterCard Advisors reports holiday sales rose 2.3% from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24. over the year-ago period. 

--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff.

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