Stocks rally as jobless claims fall, masks come down

Stocks snapped a three-day losing streak on Thursday after a drop in unemployment claims fueled hopes the U.S. economic recovery is on track.

The Dow jumped 433 points. The S&P 500 rallied 49. The Nasdaq rose 93.

New applications for jobless benefits dropped to a fresh 14-month low in a sign more companies are holding on to workers. The sharper-than-expected drop in jobless claims was very much welcomed after lackluster hiring data last month.

More market friendly news came by way of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is advising that fully-vaccinated people no longer needed to wear masks outside or inside in most places.

Art Hogan of National Securities says that's good for the economy and good for stocks.

"It is travel season. People want to go to concerts and ball games and all of that's important. The fact that the CDC is actually showing that that they're more relaxed about these kind of activities is going to make people feel more comfortable doing it. The more they do that, the more economic energy is going to explode into the economy and that is going to drive both economic growth and earnings."

Investors, however, still have to grapple with inflation concerns. Producer prices in April saw their biggest 12-month surge since at least November 2010.

And there were more signs the battle for hourly workers is heating up. Amazon said it plans to hire 75,000 workers with an average starting wage of more than $17 an hour plus a bonus if vaccinated. McDonald's announced that new employees at company-owned restaurants will start at a higher pay-rate of between $11 to $17 an hour.

Earnings after the bell:

Walt Disney beat profit targets but quarterly sales dropped more than expected. Total subscriber numbers for Disney+ came in lite at more than 103 million subscribers.

And Airbnb beat sales forecasts as easing health restrictions led to a 52 percent jump in bookings.