Stocks finish higher after strong jobless claims

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Stocks finished higher on Thursday as strong economic data and corporate earnings lifted the main benchmarks. The S&P 500












SPX, +0.76%










climbed 17.67 points, or 0.8%, to 2,355.84, with financials and industrials leading the rally. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones industrial Average












DJIA, +0.85%










advanced 174.22 points, or 0.9%, to 20,578.71, led by shares of American Express Co.












AXP, +5.92%










after the credit-card giant reported strong corporate earnings late Wednesday. The Nasdaq Composite Index












COMP, +0.92%










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.












V, +1.56%










and Mattel Inc.












MAT, +0.40%










as both firms report earnings after hours.


Source: marketwatch.com