S&P 500, Dow eye fresh highs as US stocks edge up after strong jobless-claims data

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  • US stock tilted higher as positive year-end momentum continued into the second-to-last trading session of 2021.
  • The S&P 500 could notch its 71st record close of the year, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average could extend its win streak to seven days.
  • Markets got a slight boost after the Labor Department reported a drop in weekly jobless claims.
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US stocks tilted higher Thursday, with the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average poised to mark new highs, as positive year-end momentum continued into the second-to-last trading session of 2021.

The S&P 500 could notch its 71st record close of the year, and the Dow could extend its win streak to seven days. And the indexes will have another chance reach new highs on Friday.

The stock market will be open on New Year’s Eve despite it being a federal holiday. The bond market will close early, at 2 p.m. ET.

Here’s where US indexes stood shortly after the 9:30 a.m. ET open on Thursday:

Markets got a slight boost early Thursday after the Labor Department reported jobless claims fell by 8,000 to 198,000, better than forecasts for 205,000. The four-week moving average of 199,250 was the lowest since October 1969.

The improvement comes despite a spike in coronavirus infections as the Omicron and Delta variants continue surging. The seven-day rolling average of new cases has jumped 60% from the previous week to about 240,000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday.

Elsewhere around the markets, billionaire investor Ray Dalio said he wants to buy and mint NFTs to experience the process.

Oil prices rose. West Texas Intermediate crude ticked up 0.12% to $76.65 per barrel. Brent crude, the international benchmark, dipped less than 0.1% to $79.19.

Gold slipped 0.23% to $1,801.70 per ounce. The 10-year yield rose nearly 2 basis points to 1.527%. 

Bitcoin dipped 0.4% to $47,292.