U.S. stocks extend gains on jobless data; Dow up 0.34%


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Investing.com - U.S. stocks extended Thursday's gains into Friday after investors continued to applaud strong weekly jobless claims data.

Sentiments continued to build that the U.S. economy is improving though the Federal Reserve will keep stimulating the economy with stock-boosting bond purchases in the coming months to be sure recovery can stand on its own.

Stimulus tools such as the Fed's USD85 billion in monthly bond purchases drive down interest rates to spur recovery, boosting stock prices in the process.

At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 0.34%, the S&P 500 index rose 0.50%, while the Nasdaq Composite index rose 0.57%.

Data released on Thursday revealed manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region expanded at the slowest pace in six months in November, which fanned market expectations for the Federal Reserve to keep its USD85 billion in monthly asset purchases in place through early 2014.

On the flipside, the Department of Labor said Thursday that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the U.S. last week fell by 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted 323,000, beating expectations for a decline of 9,000.

The data pushed stocks higher for a second day by fueling hopes that the U.S. economy is on the mend and will give stocks room to rise on fundamentals, though in the meantime, Fed support will remain for the coming months and keep prices elevated until the U.S. central bank feels the country can stand on its own.

Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included Boeing, up 2.29%, The Travelers Companies, up 1.45%, and Wal-Mart Stores, up 1.24%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average's worst performers included Intel, down 5.45%, IBM, down 1.56%, and Home Depot, down 0.82%.

European indices, meanwhile, finished largely higher.

After the close of European trade, the EURO STOXX 50 rose 0.35%, France's CAC 40 rose 0.58%, while Germany's DAX 30 rose 0.25%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 finished down 0.11%.

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This article appears in: Investing , Forex and Currencies

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