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Three Things to Know Thursday

  • The Dow closed up 260 points Thursday after falling by 600 points.
  • Today's gains come on the heels of the Dow's highest single-day point increase in its history on Wednesday, jumping 1,086 points in the post-Christmas session. 
  • Initial jobless claims fell by 1,000 last week to 216,000.

U.S. markets were having trouble sustaining momentum from Wednesday's record breaking session with all three major indices falling sharply shortly after the opening bell Thursday, December 27. After declining sharply for most of Thursday's session all three major indices closed trading in the green after a late surge that gained momentum in the session's final minutes.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average  gained 1.14%, or 260 points to 23,139, while the S&P 500  rose 0.85% and the Nasdaq rose 0.38%

The Dow Jones Industrial Average had the strongest point increase in its history Wednesday, jumping more than 1,000 points on the session after markets had been pummeled leading into the holiday break.

The retail sector was one of the leading sectors from Thursday's rally as the segment basks in the glow of strong holiday season. Sales from November 1 through Christmas Eve were up 5.1% to more than $850 billion, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse. Online sales jumped 19% year over year. 

During Wednesday's session, the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT) jumped 5.75% thanks to retailers like Kohl's Corp. (KSS) , Foot Locker Inc. (FL) and American Eagle Outfitters Inc. (AEO) having strong sessions. 

Foot Locker shares rose 0.62%, Kohl's shares fell 1.7%, and American Eagle fell 0.05%. 

Tech stocks also had a strong session, with all five FAANG stocks posting increases above 6%. But Thursday's session did not have the same ring to it. 

Facebook Inc. (FB) shares rose 0.25%, while Amazon Inc. (AMZN) shares fell 0.63%, Apple Inc. (AAPL) shares declined 0.65%, Netflix Inc. (NFLX) shares rallied to rise 0.75%, and Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) shares also rallied 0.4%.

Shares of Tesla Inc. (TSLA) were coming back down to earth Thursday after jumping more than 10% Wednesday after Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives reiterated an outperform rating and price target of $440. Tesla shares are down more than 7% Thursday. 

U.S. jobless claims fell for the third time in the last four weeks by 1,000 to 216,000 for the week ended December 22, according to the U.S. Department of labor. Economists polled by Reuters were expecting an increase of 217,000. 

Oil prices were struggling once again Thursday after also having a strong session Wednesday. Global benchmark Brent crude was down 1.6% to $53.61 per barrel while U.S. benchmark West Texas crude fell 1.25% to $45.64 per barrel. 

Apple, Facebook, Kohl's, and Alphabet are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS member club. Want to be alerted before Jim Cramer buys or sells FB, KSS, AAPL or GOOGL? Learn more now.