The benchmark S&P 500 came within two points of hitting a record high on Thursday, overshadowing the Dow Jones industrial average’s tenth straight gain and eighth straight record high as the market continues to tick higher.
The S&P 500 closed at 1563.23, up 8.71 points or 0.6 per cent. Its record high is 1565.15, from October 2007. The Dow closed at 14,539.14, up 83.86 points or 0.6 per cent, extending its longest winning streak since 1996.
In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index rebounded from an earlier decline, closing at 12,799.91, up 55.80 points or 0.4 per cent.
The moves follow another upbeat reading on U.S. jobless claims. Initial claims for the period ended last week fell to 332,000, down 10,000. The four-week average fell to its lowest level since March 2008.
The market gains also follow strong moves overseas. In Europe, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose 0.7 per cent and Germany’s DAX index rose 1.1 per cent, hitting its highest level since 2007. Leaders began the European Union summit, with Germany’s Angela Merkel focusing on high unemployment levels rather than fiscal discipline.
In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.2 per cent, touching its highest point since 2008.
Apple Inc. rose 1 per cent, prior to the launch by Samsung of its latest smartphone, which has begun to attract the type of attention once reserved for iPhone launches.
Research In Motion Ltd. fell 3.5 per cent, settling back after a rally on Wednesday.
Quebecor Inc. fell 5.2 per cent after it reported weak quarterly results. Earnings declined to $9.2-million or 15 cents a share, down from $1.34 a share last year. As well, Pierre Karl Péladeau announced he will step down from as Quebecor’s chief executive.
Among key commodities, crude oil rose to $92.75 (U.S.) a barrel, up 38 cents. Gold fell to $1,587.20 an ounce, down $1.20.
Suncor Energy Inc. rose 1.2 per cent and Barrick Gold Corp. fel 0.3 per cent.