The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index went above 1,700 points for the first time on Thursday after an encouraging employment report, positive manufacturing data for China and Europe, and dovish comments from the Federal Reserve a day earlier.
The S&P 500, which is considered a gauge for the rest of the market, was up more than 18 points at around 1,704 in early afternoon trade.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was trading around 15,626, up more than 126 points, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq was at 3,666, more than 40 points higher than the previous day's close.
Investor optimism lifted after the Labor Department released figures showing the number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level in five years.
Manufacturing data published in China and Europe also boosted market sentiment after Beijing’s official PMI for manufacturing showed a pick up in activity last month, while Markit’s Eurozone Manufacturing PMI also topped the 50 threshold that separates expansion from contraction for the first time in two years.
A rival PMI survey put out by HSBC showed China's manufacturing activity contracted in July.
Investors were also relieved that the Federal Reserve made no suggestion that it was about to reduce its massive asset-buying program in its latest policy statement issued Wednesday.