Investors poured money into stocks for a fifth day following a drop in unemployment claims and a spike in oil.
NEW YORK (AP) — Investors poured money into stocks for a fifth day after a drop in weekly unemployment claims and a spike in oil raised hopes for the economy.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 80 points Thursday to its highest close since November. The index is up 347 points in five days, its longest winning streak since last fall.
The gains have come even as analysts say the market is overdue for a retreat. The advance followed the Labor Department’s report that jobless claims fell more than expected to 550,000 last week. A jump in oil lifted energy companies and an upbeat forecast from consumer products maker Procter & Gamble Co. added to enthusiasm about an economic recovery.
Momentum grew in midafternoon as Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told a Congressional panel that confidence and stability were returning to the economy after the panic that began a year ago.
Some pieces of bad news held back certain shares but didn’t get in the way of a broad market advance. Agricultural company Monsanto Co. warned that its 2009 earnings would come in at the low end of its forecast and said it would cut more jobs than previously announced.
Investors voiced concerns about the pace of the gains but few didn’t want to stand in the way of a market that was carving its way higher. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index has risen 54.3 percent since hitting a 12-year low in March. It is sitting at an 11-month high, though it’s still down 33.3 percent from its peak in October 2007.
Ralph Fogel, co-chief investment officer at Fogel Neale Partners in New York, argues that too many analysts are now expecting a pullback for it to actually happen. He pointed to a well-tested piece of Wall Street wisdom that if a certain prediction becomes too widely expected in the marketplace, that conclusion is often wrong.
“I’m not sure why sure this market is going to slow up so much,” Fogel said. “We look for a nice continued move upward.”
According to preliminary calculations, the Dow rose 80.26, or 0.8 percent, to 9,627.48 to its highest close since Nov. 3, when it ended at 9,319.83.
The broader S&P 500 index rose 10.77, or 1 percent, to 1,044.14. The index hasn’t risen five straight days since a streak that ended Nov. 28.
The Nasdaq composite index rose 23.63, or 1.2 percent, to 2,084.02.