The U.S. stock markets, on Thursday, reported record highs again, which were boosted by strong earnings from several of the largest US conglomerates, decline in unemployment claims, and rising consumer expenditure. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, in morning trading, gained 256 points to pass 34,000 for the first time after the economy started showing strong signs of recovery following the pandemic. The S&P also reported an intraday high.
With businesses reopening and surging vaccination rates, the U.S. economy seems to be recovering steadily from the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the commerce department, retail expenditure increased by almost 10% in March when pandemic-induced restrictions were eased, and federal stimulus funds found their way to households.
These were broad-based gains, with retail and restaurants and bars gaining traction, two of the hardest hit sectors during the pandemic. The rise in retail gains came as the number of people who were filing to claim unemployment benefits fell to an all-time-low since the start of the pandemic.
Statistics from the labor department showed that the number of people filing for unemployment benefits was 576,000 last week, which was significantly lower than the 769,000 recorded a week earlier. While the latest number is still nearly twice of what it used to be before the novel coronavirus made its way to the U.S., it is still a record low in claims during the pandemic.
Markets were also boosted further by the better-than-hoped earnings reported by several of the largest businesses in the country. Quarterly results released by Citigroup on Thursday morning reflected the company’s substantial gains. Meanwhile, the largest asset manager across the globe, Blackrock, also observed a massive 16% profit jump.
Additionally, UK’s FTSE 100 index hit the highest level in over a year by closing time on Thursday at just under 7,000. A record high was also seen at the FTSE 250 index of medium-sized companies, supported by shares in retailers and housebuilding and transport firms.