U.S. stocks finished higher on Thursday, as vaccine optimism and economic data lifted risk appetite.
The Dow and broader U.S. stock market rallied on Thursday, as investors reacted to positive economic data out of Washington.
All of Wall Street’s major indices finished in positive territory, although the Dow struggled for momentum towards the close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) edged up 44.81 points, or 0.2%, to 29,483.23. The blue-chip index was up by as much as 86 points earlier in the day.
The broad S&P 500 Index (SPY) of large-cap stocks gained 0.4% to close at 3,581.87. Gains were fairly broad-based, with energy stocks leading the rally. Shares of information technology companies also outperformed.
Meanwhile, the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index (QQQ) rose 0.9% to settle at 11,904.71.
A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX (VXX) edged lower on Thursday, signaling the return of calm to the markets. The so-called “investor fear index” bottomed at 22.56 on a scale of 1-100, where 20 represents the historical average. VIX would eventually settle down 3.1% at 23.11.
In economic data, U.S. existing home sales shattered 14-year highs in October, according to the Department of Commerce.
Sales rose 4.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.85 million, which was much higher than expected.
Separately, initial jobless claims rose more than expected last week, but continuing claims continued to fall.
The number of Americans continuing to receive jobless benefits fell to 6.372 million for the week ended Nov. 7 from 6.801 million the week before.
The Final Word: Covid-19 continues to spread rapidly across the United States, with more than 11.6 million confirmed cases as of Thursday. Globally, more than 56.6 million infections have been confirmed, according to Johns Hopkins University.