Stocks finished higher on Thursday as strong economic data and corporate earnings lifted the main benchmarks. The S&P 500
climbed 17.67 points, or 0.8%, to 2,355.84, with financials and industrials leading the rally. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones industrial Average
advanced 174.22 points, or 0.9%, to 20,578.71, led by shares of American Express Co.
after the credit-card giant reported strong corporate earnings late Wednesday. The Nasdaq Composite Index
rose 53.74 points, or 0.9%, to 5,916.78. Earlier, the Labor Department reported that the number of Americans collecting unemployment checks fell to its lowest level in 17 years. Investors will be watching shares of Visa Inc.
and Mattel Inc.
as both firms report earnings after hours.