NASDAQ posts record close; financials lead as banks surge up more than 2%

NASDAQ posts record

Stocks in the United States, finished higher on Thursday, as financials led, as investors digested major economic data and kept an eye on the rising prices of oil.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average went up 0.33 percent or 69.17, finishing at 20,728.49, with Exxon Mobil the leading advancer while Nike is the biggest decliner.

The S&P 500 rose 0.29 percent or 6.93 points to close at 2,368.06, with financials leading seven sectors higher and utilities declining.

The NASDAQ composite gained 0.28 percent or 16.80 points to end at 5,914.34.

The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best measurement of the market’s fear, traded near 11.6.

"Clearly the economic data was constructive and that continues to be the case," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.

The U.S. economy grew at a rate of 2.1 percent in the final quarter of last year, more than expected. Other data released Thursday included weekly jobless claims, which fell by 3,000 to 250,000.

"Bottom line, this is old news as we are two days away from finishing Q1 but at least we see from what base we are moving from," chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group Peter Boockvar said in a note referring to the economic growth data.

U.S. Treasuries gave up slight gains following the data’s release, with the benchmark 10-year note yield rising to 2.42 percent. Yields retreated from their 2017 highs since the Fed increased interest rates earlier in March, but maintained their outlook mostly unchanged.

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