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.

More from Markets

Replay: Jim Cramer on Tariffs, the Market Rally, Caterpillar and Micron

Replay: Jim Cramer on Tariffs, the Market Rally, Caterpillar and Micron

Video: When Planning for Retirement, Don't Underestimate Your Life Span

Video: When Planning for Retirement, Don't Underestimate Your Life Span

Video: Here's What May Come Next for Theranos Founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes

Video: Here's What May Come Next for Theranos Founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes

Charlie Gasparino Says GE Is Reportedly Looking to Slash Its Dividend Again

Charlie Gasparino Says GE Is Reportedly Looking to Slash Its Dividend Again

GE Confirms $11.1 Billion Transportation Merger With Wabtec

GE Confirms $11.1 Billion Transportation Merger With Wabtec