The stock market recovered from an afternoon stumble and ended with modest gains Thursday, enough to mark more record highs for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq. The Dow rose 131 points to 35,443, the S&P 500 gained 12 points to 4,536, and the Nasdaq rose 21 points to 15,331. Small-company stocks far outpaced the rest of the market, a sign that investors are feeling encouraged about the prospects for the economy, per the AP. The Russell 2000 rose 0.7%, more than twice the gain of the S&P 500, which tracks large companies. Energy stocks did particularly well as the price of oil rose 2%. The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped to 1.29%.
The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to 340,000, a pandemic low and another sign that the job market is steadily rebounding from the economic collapse caused by the coronavirus pandemic. It's a preview of what traders are waiting for on Friday, when they will get the August jobs report from the Labor Department. Economists are expecting that US employers created 750,000 jobs last month, pushing the unemployment rate down to 5.2%. That jobs report on Friday will be closely watched by investors for its potential impact on the Federal Reserve's path forward on its support for the economy.
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