The U.S stocks ended higher on Thursday after economic data continued to prove that the recovery was picking up strength in the world’s largest economy. The Dow Jones industrial average gained for the seventh straight day, rising 58.66 points, or 0.44 percent, at 13,252.76. The Standard & Poor’s 500 was up 8.32 points, or 0.60 percent, to 1,402.60, the first time for the index to settle above 1,400 in about four years. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 15.64 points, or 0.51 percent, to 3,056.37. Market sentiment was continued to be buoyed by a bunch of positive economic data, indicating the economy was gaining momentum. The U.S. Labor Department reported early in the morning that the number of people applying for unemployment benefits dropped 14, 000 to a seasonally adjusted 351,000 last week, back to the four- year low. The four-week average of this reading, which erased weekly volatile factors, was unchanged at 355,750. The number has been consistently below 375,000 in recent weeks, a level considered as strong enough to lower unemployment rate by most economists. Separately, another report showed prices at wholesale levers rose the most in about half a year last month, driven by lofty oil prices. However,…
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