Updated from 11:35 a.m. EDT

TheStreet.com 21

index kept building on its weeklong rally Thursday, as the markets climbed higher amid positive economic news.

The index rose 5.74 points, or 0.5%, closing at 1064.93 on a day that featured shiny reports from the government and the Conference Board. The Labor Department said that initial unemployment claims fell 4.2%, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank's August manufacturing index rose to a surprising 22.1 from 8.3 and the Conference Board said leading indicators were up 0.4%. Meanwhile, the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

jumped 26.17 points, or 0.28%, to 9,423.68 and the

Nasdaq

closed at 1,777.55, up 17.01 points or 0.97%.

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

led the 21's 18 winners, climbing 83 cents, or 2.59%, to $32.82.

Continental Airlines

gained 40 cents, or 2.77%, to land at $14.84,

Maytag

(MYG)

rose 62 cents, or 2.52%, to $25.18, and

General Electric

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, considered the current leader in the bidding for

Vivendi's

(V) - Get Report

entertainment assets, was up 71 cents, or 2.41%, to $30.16.

Three stocks in the index came up short, starting with

Level 3 Communications

(LVLT)

, which lost 8 cents, or 1.71%, to finish at $4.61.

Tiffany

(TIF) - Get Report

shed 24 cents, or 0.61%, to close at $39.08, and

Best Buy

(BBY) - Get Report

dropped 5 cents, or 0.10%, to $49.45.

Overall, the index is 64.93 points, or 6.5%, ahead of its start at 1000 on July 3.

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