History for S&P 500 with first close above 4,000

A holiday-shortened trading week came to a close Thursday on an upswing, with the S&P 500 closing above 4,000 for the first time in history.

The Dow rose 171 points. The S&P 500 jumped 46 points to a record closing high. The Nasdaq rallied 233.

The stock market will be closed for Good Friday. The bond market will wind down at noon.

Investors were optimistic after data showed a jump in manufacturing activity to a 37-year high in March and a drop in corporate layoff announcements to a more than 2-1/2 year low. An unexpected spike in weekly unemployment claims did little to undermine confidence in an economy that's rebounding on many fronts.

Optimism was the buzz word of the day, says Victoria Fernandez. She's the chief market strategist at Crossmark Global Investments.

"We've got the stimulus checks that are hitting people's bank accounts, so we've got that increased spending. We saw yields come back a little bit, which is giving a boost to tech. And you have increased stimulus coming in the form of an infrastructure plan. So I think people are looking longer term with reopening, vaccines hitting almost three million a day, and using that as their optimism for the markets to continue to trend higher."

Chip stocks saw a bounce after Micron Technology lifted quarterly sales expectations. It is seeing higher demand for memory chips used in 5G smartphones and to power artificial intelligence software.

Taiwan Semiconductor added to the upbeat tone on a plan to invest $100 billion over the next three years in order to meet rising demand for semiconductors.

Johnson & Johnson was left out of Thursday's jovial mood. A stumble for the drugmaker in its COVID-19 vaccine production. It discovered a problem with a batch of the vaccine. Although it would not detail how many doses the batch would have produced, the New York Times reported, without citing a source, that about 15 million doses were ruined. Shares of J&J were down slightly. Manufacturing partner Emergent Biosolutions - the cause of the bad batch - saw its stock tumble more than 13 percent.