NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 14: Joe Brady plays the bagpipes on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange March 14, 2013 in New York City. The Dow rose for a 10th straight day, in the longest streak since 1996. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
Updated: March 14, 2013 6:14PM
Encouraging news from the job market pushed the stock market up Thursday, sending the Dow Jones industrial average to its 10th straight day of gains and leaving the Standard & Poor’s 500 index tantalizing close to its all-time high.
The S&P 500 finished at 1,563.23, up 8.71 points, or 0.6 percent. The S&P closing record was 1,565.15, recorded Oct. 9, 2007.
The Dow rose 83.86 points, 0.6 percent, to finish at 14,539.14. The last time it completed a 10-day winning streak was the stretch ending Nov. 15, 1996. The longest streak of gains in the Dow was 14 consecutive days, a mark reached June 14, 1897.
The Nasdaq composite index advanced 13.81 points, 0.4 percent, to close at 3,258.93.
Fewer Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, dropping the average number of weekly applications to 332,000, according to the Labor Department. That’s a five-year low. Economists had expected weekly jobless claims to rise.
The four-week average, a more stable measure, fell to the lowest since March 2008, four months after the economy slid into the Great Recession.
The gains were broad in early trading, though slight. Of the ten industries in the S&P 500, utilities and consumer-discretionary stocks were the only groups to fall.
In the Treasury market, the yield on the 10-year note rose to 2.05 percent from 2.02 percent late Wednesday. Better economic news tends to draw traders out of the Treasury market, and when bond prices drop, yields rise.
Among other stocks making big moves:
— Coldwater Creek jumped 12 percent after the retailer of women’s clothing posted a loss late Wednesday that was smaller than analysts had expected. Its stock rose 39 cents to $3.60.
— Men’s Wearhouse soared 14 percent after the clothing company said Wednesday that its quarterly loss shrank, helped by better sales. Men’s Wearhouse gained $4.20 to $33.26.