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The U.S. equity markets ended Thursday on a strong note, with the S&P 500 just a few points shy of an all-time closing high. A better-than-expected unemployment report and improved economic outlooks from some of America’s top CEOs helped buoy gains.
At the close: DJIA: +0.58%, S&P 500: +0.56%, NASDAQ: +0.43%.
On the commodities front, WTI crude oil (NYSEARCA:USO) swung up $0.58 to $93.10 per barrel. Gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) futures for April delivery, the most active contract, increased $2.30 to close at $1,590.70 per ounce, while silver (NYSEARCA:SLV) futures for May dipped 15 cents to finish at $28.81.
Both precious metals were relatively stable as jobless claims beat estimates. According to the Labor Department, the number of people filing claims for jobless benefits fell 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 332,000 for the week ended March 9. The four-week average declined to 346,750, its lowest level in five years. However, the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six other fiat currencies, declined from 7-month highs to as low as 82.43.
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