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Overnight Markets: US stocks gain as jobless claims decline

by Himanshu Singh on Dec 27, 2013 at 06:19

Overnight Markets: US stocks gain as jobless claims decline

Wall Street surged on Thursday, with the Dow Jones and S&P 500 ending at record highs, as a decline in jobless claims fuelled optimism in the economy and retail shares rallied.

The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 122 points, or 0.75%, to end at 16,480, a record closing high. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained nine points, or 0.47%, to finish at 1,842, also a record closing high. The Nasdaq Composite Index shot up 12 points, or 0.28%, to close at 4,167.

Stocks gained amid a positive sign for economic growth after initial jobless claims declined 42,000 in the latest week, dropping to 338,000 - the lowest level in nearly a month.

Retail shares remained in the focus as the holiday shopping season drew to a close. According to data published by MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, sales between 1 November and 24 December increased 2.3%, bucking concerns that the season had been weak.

Meanwhile, data showed jobless claims declined by 42,000 to 338,000 in the week ended 21 December, a Labour Department report showed in Washington.

Urban Outfitters (URBN.O) rose 2.2% and was one of the S&P 500's biggest percentage gainers. Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) gained 1.3%. Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N), a Dow component, added 0.5%.

Energy shares also climbed. Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) shot up 1.7% that helped boost the Dow. Chevron Corp (CVX.N), another Dow component, gained 1.1%.

Target Corp (TGT.N) increased 1.3%, though it remained down 1.7% from its close on 18 December.

In the telecom sector, Japan's SoftBank Corp (9984.T) was in discussions to acquire T-Mobile US Inc (TMUS.N). Shares of T-Mobile US traded at their highest levels since 2007, gaining 2.3%.

Tesla Inc. gained 2.7% on a report that the electric car maker will focus on opening more showrooms in China next year. Twitter Inc. jumped 4.8%, increasing for a fifth straight day. EBay Inc. fell 2% as data showed a slowdown in sales.

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