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Dow, S&P 500 Set Records as Data and Earnings Signal U.S. Recovery

The Dow and S&P 500 close at records as data on retail sales and jobless claims and solid earnings reports point to a recovering U.S. economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 closed at records on Thursday after data on retail sales and jobless claims and solid earnings reports pointed to a recovering U.S. economy.

The Dow finished up 305 points, or 0.9%, to 34,035, while the S&P 500 rose 1.11% to 4,170. The Nasdaq gained 1.31% to 14,038.

The Dow topped 34,000 for the first time. The blue-chip index and the S&P 500 also set all-time intraday highs on Thursday.

"Although 34,000 by itself is just another number, this is a monumental feat when you think back to where we were last year at this time," said Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist for LPL Financial. 

"The speed and resiliency of this economic recovery is unlike anything we've ever seen and it helps to justify stocks at all-time highs."

Both Bank of America  (BAC) - Get Bank of America Corporation Report and Citigroup  (C) - Get Citigroup Inc. Report posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings and trading revenue.

Retail sales in the U.S. jumped 9.8% in March, soaring past economists' forecasts Thursday. Billions in stimulus from the American Rescue Act found its way into the broader economy as states continued reopening. 

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The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits, meanwhile, plunged to the lowest levels since the pandemic began hammering the labor market last year.

"There is plenty of pent-up demand in the economy, as Thursday's retail sales report showed," said Vanessa Martinez, managing director and partner at Lerner Group, a Chicago wealth-management firm. 

"Consumer savings rates have surged over the past year and we expect consumer spending to remain elevated for the remainder of 2021, which should bode very well for 2021 GDP figures."

Shares of Coinbase Global  (COIN) - Get Coinbase Global Inc Report finished down 1.7% even after ARK Innovation ETF  (ARKK) - Get ARK Innovation ETF Report, led by star fund manager Cathie Wood, added nearly $250 million of the stock to her flagship funds.

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury declined Thursday to 1.53%, the lowest in about a month. Yields have eased in April as fears have ebbed that the Federal Reserve would boost interest rates sooner than expected to curtail inflation resulting from the U.S. recovery.

Stocks closed mixed Wednesday with equities easing from all-time highs. Investors weighed earnings and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the U.S. was entering a period of faster growth and jobs creation but cautioned a resurgence of COVID-19 could derail the recovery.

Powell also said the Fed wouldn't boost interest rates until the central bank's targets on employment and inflation were met.

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