The Dow posted a triple-digit gain on Thursday after a stronger-than-expected reading on the housing market and stabilizing events on the eurozone front trumped ExxonMobil's earnings miss.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average, as quoted by Foxbusinesss.com, climbed 114 points, or 0.87%, to 13205, the S&P 500 rose 9.3 points, or 0.67%, to 1400 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 21 points, or 0.69%, to 3051.
Traders were paying close attention to two important economic reports on the day. Pending home sales, which are a forward-looking indicator, jumped 4.1% in March from the month prior, according to the National Association of Realtors. The index is also up 12.8% from the same month in 2011.
New claims for unemployment benefits fell to 388,000 last week from an upwardly revised 389,000 the week prior, the Labor Department reported. Economists were expecting a drop to 375,000 from an initially reported 386,000. The four-week moving average, which helps smooth out volatility, rose to 381,750 -- the highest level seen since January 7.
The weekly read has been rising slowly recently, raising concerns over the strength of the jobs market. However, the report from the Labor Department can be volatile, and is often subject to substantial revisions.
Indeed, analysts at Nomura wrote in a note to clients that "the rise should not be taken as a sign that there is fundamental weakening in the labor market." In their view, the upward momentum is likely the result of "imperfect" seasonal adjustments.
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