Stocks finished higher again on Thursday, giving the benchmark S&P 500 its sixth straight gain, reports the Wall Street Journal. The S&P rose 22 points to 4,319, the Dow rose 131 points to 34,633, and the Nasdaq ticked up 18 points to 14,522. The increases follow Wednesday's close to the first half of the year, one that saw the S&P gain 14.5% for its best six-month stretch since 1998, per the AP. A Thursday report showing that the number of workers filing for unemployment benefits last week fell to a pandemic low of 364,000 gave investors further proof of a strengthening economy.
A bigger test comes Friday, when the report for June will be released. “Investors are eager to see whether or not the labor market continues to recover as quickly as expected,” said Charlie Ripley of Allianz Investment Management. The Journal notes that investors appear to growing less concerned that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates to curb inflation. (Read more stock market stories.)