NEW YORK - Wall Street stocks rallied Thursday, lifting the S&P 500 and Nasdaq to fresh records following improving jobless claims data ahead of the key monthly employment report.
Fewer Americans filed unemployment benefit claims last week, government data said, pushing the closely watched metric of labor market health lower as the US economy improves.
The data comes ahead of Friday's closely watched monthly jobs report, which is expected to show the US economy added 925,000 jobs, with unemployment falling to 5.6 percent.
"The economic data were positive," said Art Hogan, chief strategist at National Securities, adding that news of increased vaccinations in response to the Delta variant of Covid-19 has also boosted sentiment.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.8 percent to 35,064.25.
The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.6 percent to 4,429.10, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 0.8 percent to 14,895.12.
Among individual companies, Uber rose three percent after announcing a second-quarter profit fueled by one-time gains and saying its ride-hailing business was showing signs of recovery.
Stock trading platform Robinhood Markets dropped 27.6 percent after surging more than 50 percent on Wednesday, prompting observers to dub it the latest "meme" stock that gyrates with social media-driven shifts in investor sentiment.