NEW YORK, New York - U.S. stocks marched higher on Thursday with the Nasdaq Composite leading the way.
The key tech index closed above the crucual 11,000 level for the first time, setting a new historic record.
"Markets have been incredibly resilient, there is a big fear of missing out and it is the old stalwarts, the technology leaders that keep driving the market higher," Sal Bruno, chief investment officer at IndexIQ in New York told the Reuters Thomson news agency Thursday..
U.S. Labor Department numbers revealed a slide fall in jobless claims, the first in three weeks.
Holding markets back was the failure of the Congress to come up with a new stimulus deal.
"If there's not a deal by Friday, there won't be a deal," Republican Senator Roy Blunt told reporters on Wednesday.
"I'm not sure people are taking the drop dead date seriously because most people probably view that as a negotiating ploy and people realize the government is going to have to do something," Bruno said.
At the close of trading Thursday the Dow Jones Industrial Average was ahead 185.46 points, or 0.68%, at 27,386.98.
The Standard and Poor's 500 rose 21.39 points, or 0.64%, to 3,349.16.
The Nasdaq Composite did best, gaining 109.67 points, or 1%, to 11,108.07.
The U.S. dollar remained well bid. The euro closed out trading in New York late Thursday aty 1.1877. The Br itish pound was quoted at 1.3142. The Japanese yen firmed to 105.31. The Swiss franc edged up to 0.9096.
The Canadian dollar was strong, but off its highs at 1.3309. The Australian dollar jumped to 0.7230. The New Zealand dollar did likewise, closing out the day around 0.6688.
Overseas equity markets were mixed. Londond's FTSE 100 dropped 1.27%. The German Dax fell 0.54%. The Paris-based CAC 40 shed 0.98%.
On Asian markets, China's Shanghai Composite index was ahead 8.90 points 0.26% at 3,386.46, its fifth gain in 5 days.
The financial sector sub-index added 1.48%, and securities firms jumped 3.48%. "The rise was a matter of fundamentals, reflecting signs of improving performance at securities firms," Zhang Gang, an analyst with China Central Securities told Reuters Thomson. "Expectations of possible consolidation in the sector had also boosted interest," he added.
In Japan the Nikkei 225 retreated 96.70 points or 0.43% to 22,418.15.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 171.96 points or 0.69% to 24,930.58.
The Australian All Ordinaries climbed 44.40 points or 0.70% to 6,180.30.