Dow climbs to record high

Upbeat data signaling a labor market recovery drove the Dow to a new record high Thursday. The S&P 500 also rose in a broad rally after the Labor Department reported that new claims for unemployment benefits dropped below the 500,000 level for the first time since the pandemic began.

Crossmark Global Investments Chief Market Strategist Victoria Fernandez says stocks could push higher through year end.

“The consumer is strong with savings rates north of 20% right now, which sets them up to continue to spend, not just now with stimulus checks coming in, but in the quarters to come. So this is why we think yes, even though there could be some headwinds from headline information about things that are happening, we have a pretty good foundation and good tailwinds to take us through the end of this year.”

The Dow ended up 0.9% The S&P 500 gained 0.8%. And the Nasdaq rose 0.4%.

Healthcare was the laggard on the S&P. Shares of Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax fell after the President Joe Biden backed plans to waive patents on COVID-19 shots.

But Regeneron Pharmaceuticals rose 3%. The drug maker said demand for its coronavirus antibody therapy will hold up even as more Americans become vaccinated. Its quarterly profit topped Wall Street’s estimates.