A sign for Wall Street is seen just outside the New York Stock Exchange.(Photo: Timothy A. Clary, AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK (AP) - Good news about overall hiring and spending at retail businesses is perking up investors and they're hoping the stock market continues to climb higher as the volatile trading week ends.
U.S. stocks closed sharply higher yesterday on news that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell 12,000 to 334,000, below what economists had expected. Also, the government reported that U.S. retail sales increased 0.6 percent in May from April. That was up from a 0.1 percent gain in April and the fastest pace since February.
For investors, the pair of government reports offered more encouragement that the U.S. economic recovery will continue, even as Europe and Japan struggle. The Standard & Poor's 500 index soared 24 points, or 1.5 percent, to 1,636.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 181 points, or 1.2 percent, to 15,176. And the Nasdaq composite rose 45 points, or 1.2 percent, to 3,445.