US stocks continued their run to record highs on Thursday, bolstered by a slew of solid economic news.
The major indices again rose to records with the Standard & Poor’s 500 and Nasdaq Composite on track for eight-day winning streaks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is heading for its seventh straight daily close higher.
Stocks were bolstered by data showing the trade deficit narrowed to an 11-month low in August and weekly jobless claims fell ahead of government monthly payrolls data slated for Friday. The Challenger report indicated job cuts in the third quarter were at the lowest level since third quarter of 1996.
“Politics may dominate the media but outside of DC America is going about its business,” said Joseph Trevisani, chief market strategist at WorldWideMarkets online trading. “Initial jobless claims, an indicator of labor market strength, have averaged their lowest in a generation for the past two years.”
Top gainers included Biogen (BIIB), up 4.3%, and Constellation Brands (STZ), which rose 4.1%. Decliners included Navient (NAVI), down 11%, and Celgene (CELG), which shed 5.4%
Biogen said new data from its phase three Endear study demonstrated earlier initiation of treatment with Spinraza may improve motor function outcomes in infants with spinal muscular atrophy. Constellation, a producer of alcoholic beverages, reported fiscal second quarter earnings per share that were well above the Capital IQ consensus.
Navient was weaker after Compass Point cut its rating on the shares to neutral from buy. Also, media reports showed Pennsylvania’s attorney general is suing the student loan provider for alleged deception. Celgene retreated after Morgan Stanley lowered the shares to underweight from equal weight.
In early afternoon trading, the Nasdaq rose 0.6%, the S&P 500 gained 0.5% and the Dow was up 0.4%.
Globally, the FTSE 100 was up 0.5%, the Nikkei 225 was little changed and both the Hang Seng and the Shanghai Composite were closed.