Dow closes up over 500 points, extending election week gains

U.S. stocks jumped on Thursday, notching a four-day winning streak, as Wall Street followed election-related news and digested the Federal Reserve's latest policy decision.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 542.52 points, or 1.95 percent, to finish at 28,390.18. The S&P 500 was up 67.01 points, or 1.95 percent, to 3,510.45. The Nasdaq Composite Index increased 300.15 points, or 2.59 percent, to 11,890.93.

Ten of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors advanced, with materials and technology closing up 4.05 percent and 3.12 percent, respectively, outpacing the rest. Energy dipped 0.04 percent, the lone declining group.

U.S.-listed Chinese companies traded mostly higher, with eight of the top 10 stocks by weight in the S&P U.S. Listed China 50 index ending the day on an upbeat note.

Investors awaited the final results of the U.S. election as the vote counting continues.

"In spite of no official winner for the White House yet, traders seemed to cheer the prospect of a divided government" which could mean it's less likely "that companies will see any kind of tax increase, or any other kind of sweeping policy changes from either party that could potentially disrupt businesses," Kevin Matras, analyst at Zacks Investment Research, said in a note Thursday.

The U.S. Federal Reserve on Thursday kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at the record-low level of near zero amid uncertainty about the final result of Tuesday's presidential election.

"Economic activity and employment have continued to recover but remain well below their levels at the beginning of the year," the Fed said in a statement after concluding a two-day policy meeting, adding the path of the U.S. economy will depend significantly on the course of the coronavirus.

The central bank decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 0-0.25 percent, pledging to use its full range of tools to support the U.S. economy "in this challenging time."

The Fed slashed interest rates to near zero earlier this year in an effort to cushion the pandemic shock.

On the data front, U.S. initial jobless claims, a rough way to measure layoffs, came in at 751,000 in the week ending Oct. 31, following an upwardly revised 758,000 in the prior week, said the Department of Labor. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a bigger decline to 728,000.