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Nasdaq, S&P 500 Close at Records on Recovery Signs, Infrastructure Deal

Stocks post record closes as jobless claims fall, durable-goods orders climb and President Biden says an infrastructure deal has been reached.

Stocks posted record closes Thursday after the number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits fell last week, durable-goods orders climbed at the fastest pace since January and President Joe Biden announced a tentative agreement on a $579 billion infrastructure plan.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq hit record closes and record intraday highs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 322 points, or 0.95%, to 34,196, and the S&P 500 rose 0.58%. The Nasdaq gained 0.69%, its fourth consecutive winning day.

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“We have a deal,” Biden told reporters after a bipartisan agreement was presented to him at the White House. 

Tesla  (TSLA)  ended up 3.5% Thursday, a day after shares of the electric-vehicle maker rose 5.3% for their best day in more than two months.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose Thursday to 1.483%.

The Nasdaq posted a record close Wednesday in mixed trading. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said a spike in inflation likely was temporary, easing worries that the central bank could soon pull back on economic support. The S&P 500 slipped 0.11%, ending a two-session winning streak.

Powell’s remarks before Congress followed a meeting of the Fed’s policymaking committee last week, when officials signaled they could boost interest rates and begin tapering asset purchases sooner than expected.

The Fed's hawkish tilt sent stock markets reeling last week but Wall Street has steadied after Powell's assurances the central bank wasn't close to raising rates.

However, Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said Wednesday he expects the central bank's first hike off ultra-low rates to take place in 2022. 

His counterpart at the Atlanta Fed, Raphael Bostic, said he too now expects a rate increase next year. He added that the Fed should soon begin planning to start the tapering process as it edges closer toward its employment and inflation goals.

Jamie Cox, managing partner for Harris Financial Group, said that while jobless claims dipped last week, "the labor market remains lumpy and uneven, so the only real takeaway is that removing fiscal and monetary support too early is the biggest risk to the recovery." 

Earnings reports are expected after the closing bell Thursday from Nike  (NKE) , BlackBerry  (BB)  and FedEx  (FDX) .

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