In this Monday, July 15, 2013, photo, the American flag and a sign for Wall St. are shown outside the New York Stock Exchange, in New York. Stocks continued to rise Thursday July 18, 2013 after the U.S. Federal Reserve said it will extend its stimulus policies if necessary, though Chinese markets were overshadowed by uncertainty over the country's economic outlook. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Updated: July 18, 2013 3:30PM
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are closing at record level as investors were encouraged by earnings gains at major U.S. companies and good news on the economy.
Unemployment claims fell and manufacturing surged in the mid-Atlantic region.
Morgan Stanley rose 4 percent to $27.70 after reporting sharply higher earnings and a share buyback. Energy stocks jumped after oil shot to a 16-month high.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 78 points, or 0.5 percent, to 15,548 Thursday, led by UnitedHealth Group and IBM.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 rose eight, or 0.5 percent, to 1,689.
The Nasdaq edged up a point to 3,611, held back by Intel and eBay, which reported disappointing results.
Two stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was average at 3.4 billion shares.