Dow, S&P 500 End At New Highs After Data, Stimulus In Place

Traders work on the main trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shortly after the opening bell in New York, in this file photo from May 20, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Segar/Files

Traders work on the main trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shortly after the opening bell in New York, in this file photo from May 20, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Segar/Files

NEW YORK  - The Dow and S&P 500 ended at record highs on Thursday, with the S&P 500 rising above 1,700 after strong data on manufacturing-sector growth and as central banks said they would keep monetary stimulus in place.

Stocks were broadly higher, with all 10 S&P 500 sectors in the black, though growth-sensitive financials, industrials and consumer discretionary shares registered the biggest gains. The Dow transportation average .DJT rose 3.2 percent, also closing at a new high.

Google (GOOG.O) shares, up 1.9 percent at $904.22, and Apple (AAPL.O), up 0.9 percent at $456.67, were among companies giving the S&P 500 its biggest boost, along with financials. JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N) shares gained 1.5 percent to $56.54 while Bank of America (BAC.N) was up 2.4 percent at $14.95.

Data on weekly U.S. initial jobless claims and national manufacturing came in better than expected. The Institute for Supply Management said its index of national factory activity for July rose to its highest level since June 2011.

"The talk we've been hearing that the second half is going to be better than the first. We saw some follow-through on that. The ISM showing expansion in a lot of different areas is one of the main reasons why Wall Street (was) rallying today," said Brian Amidei, managing director at HighTower Advisors in Palm Desert, California.

The benchmark S&P rose to an intraday high of 1,707.85, surpassing 1,700 early in the session after coming close but failing to break above that level on Wednesday.

Global central banks remained accommodative on Thursday, with European Central Bank President Mario Draghi reiterating the ECB's rates will remain at their present level or lower for an "extended period.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve, in its latest policy statement, gave no hint that a reduction in the pace of its bond-buying program was imminent, as the economy continues to recover but is still in need of support.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was up 128.48 points, or 0.83 percent, at 15,628.02, a record close. It also hit a new intraday high of 15,650.69. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPXwas up 21.14 points, or 1.25 percent, at 1,706.87, also a new record.

The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was up 49.37 points, or 1.36 percent, at 3,675.74. The index hit a fresh 13-year high.

The drop in initial claims, coupled with Wednesday's better-than-expected ADP employment report, bodes well for July payrolls data on Friday.

Yelp Inc (YELP.N) surged 23.2 percent to $51.50 after the consumer reviews website posted a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss and forecast third-quarter revenue above analysts' expectations.

Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD.N) was the S&P 500's biggest percentage gainer after reporting second-quarter results. The company's shares jumped 12.5 percent to $174.15, after hitting an all-time high of $180.99 earlier in the session.

On the downside, Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) dipped 1.1 percent to $92.73, the biggest drag on the Dow and the S&P 500, after reporting a sharp drop in quarterly profit on lower oil and gas output production and weaker earnings from its refining business.

By Caroline Valetkevitch | Thu Aug 1, 2013 4:43pm EDT (Reuters)

(This story is corrected in first paragraph to say manufacturing, not service growth)

(Editing by Chris Reese, Nick Zieminski and Dan Grebler)


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