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Dow closes up for 10th day, S&P finishes near record high on jobless claims

Better-than-expected initial jobless claims data drove US stocks higher.

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on January 28. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up for the 10th straight day while the S & P finished two points shy of its all-time closing high on Thursday after weekly jobless claims beat expectations, the Associated Press reported.

It was another record close for the Dow, which last saw 10 straight gains in late 1996, Reuters reported. 

Investors were encouraged by the first-time jobless claims data, which suggested the labor market recovery was gaining traction. 

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims fell by 10,000 to 332,000 in the week ended March 9, Bloomberg reported. Analysts had been expecting an increase.

The four-week average fell to a five- year low of 346,750.

At the closing bell, the Dow was up 0.58% at 14,539.14, according to The New York Times.

The S&P was up 0.56% at 1,563.23, two points shy of its closing peak of 1,565.15.