Encouraging data on the U.S. job market and inflation helped lift the market, pushing the S&P 500 to a record high. The Dow came within 36 points of its own record. The indexes are up for the month and year.
Technology and consumer staples stocks were among the biggest gainers. The price of U.S. oil fell on continuing concerns about high global supplies.
The Dow rose 191.75 points, or 1.1 percent, to 18,252.24. The S&P 500 index gained 22.62 points, or 1.1 percent, to 2,121.10. That’s three points higher than its previous closing high of 2,117.69 on April 24.
The Nasdaq composite added 69.10 points, or 1.4 percent, to 5,050.80.
The 10 sectors in the S&P 500 closed higher, with technology stocks leading the pack. The sector is up 4.8 percent this year.
After a mostly downbeat week in the markets, trading got off to a strong start early Thursday as investors weighed the two Labor Department reports.
The government said fewer people applied for unemployment aid last week, pushing the four-week average down to its lowest level since April 2000.
A separate index that tracks the prices of goods and services before they reach consumers declined 0.4 percent last month. That could signal that the Federal Reserve will hold off on raising its key interest rate until this fall, said Erik Davidson, chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank.
Beyond economic data, traders had their eye on the latest batch of corporate earnings and deal news.
Ctrip.com International surged 8.8 percent after the Chinese travel services company reported better-than-expected first-quarter financial results and a strong outlook. The stock gained $5.78 to $71.14.
Traders also bid up shares in Perry Ellis International. The clothing maker’s first-quarter earnings trumped Wall Street forecasts and the company also raised its earnings forecast for the year. Perry Ellis climbed $2.06, or 8.6 percent, to $26.09.
Some companies’ latest financial results failed to live up to expectations.
Kohl’s plunged 13.3 percent after the retailer reported that its first-quarter revenue and a key sales measure fell short of Wall Street’s forecasts, even as the company posted a better-than-expected profit for the quarter. The stock lost $9.89 to $64.62.
In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 62 cents to close at $59.88 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oil used by many U.S. refineries, fell 22 cents to close at $66.59 in London.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.24 percent from 2.29 percent late Wednesday.
Wholesale gasoline rose 1.7 cents to close at $2.058 a gallon, while heating oil rose 0.1 cent to close at $2.006 a gallon. Natural gas rose 7.3 cents to close at $3.008 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Precious and industrial metals futures closed mixed. Gold edged up $7 to $1,225.20 an ounce, silver rose 24 cents to $17.47 an ounce and copper edged down less than a penny to $2.92 a pound.