NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It was a second consecutive day of all-time closing highs for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 with Wall Street buoyant ahead of Friday's jobs report and comforting hints of stimulus coming from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.4% to a record 17,554.02 and the S&P 500 gained 0.37% to a high of 2,031.11. The Nasdaq climbed 0.38%.
Watch the video below for a closer look at how U.S. markets ended the trading day Thursday:
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There is cautious optimism on Wall Street regarding the improving domestic job market, with economists expecting an increase of 240,000 jobs when the October jobs report is released before market open Friday.
"We could see a number possibly north of 250,000 based on some of the early reads that have come out from other series so I think we could see an upside surprise," said Alan Gayle, senior investment strategist at RidgeWorth Investments, in a phone call.
Investors hope for a repeat performance of September's jobs report, when data showed 248,000 jobs were added and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.9%, its lowest level in roughly six years.
Earlier Thursday, a drop in the number of claims for unemployment benefits in the U.S. backed up data supporting a tightening labor market. Jobless claims declined 10,000 to 278,000, the lowest level in roughly 14 years, for the week ended Nov. 1. Analysts had expected claims of 283,000.
European equities surged, with Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 closing more than 0.4% higher, after Draghi restated plans to introduce stimulus measures if needed. The ECB on Thursday kept its benchmark lending rate at 0.05%, a record low.
Wall Street has lost sleep over concerns of a eurozone recession incited by deflation and unemployment. Its largest economy, Germany, reported anemic industrial orders growth of 0.8% in September, far lower than an estimated 2.3% gain.
Whole Food Markets (WFM) spiked 7.3% on Thursday, the best performer on the S&P 500. Quarterly sales increased by 9.4% and management targeted a fiscal 2015 sales increase of 11.7%.
Genworth Financial (GNW) was the worst performer on the S&P 500 after taking an earnings charge of $345 million in its third quarter following a long-term care insurance claim review. Shares were down 38.5%.
King Digital (KING) , popular mobile app developer, reported net income of 56 cents a share, 9 cents higher than analysts expected. Revenue fell 15.7% year over year, primarily a result of fewer in-app sales in its most lucrative game Candy Crush. Shares dropped 5% after the bell.
--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.