Dow on 10-day winning streak


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U.S. stocks advanced Thursday, with the Dow scaling new peaks, following a better-than-expected report on jobless claims.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose more than 50 points, or 0.4%, climbing to a fresh record high above 14,500. The gains mark the Dow’s 10th straight up day — matching the winning streak in 1996, the year of former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan’s “irrational exuberance” speech.

The SP 500 added 6 points, or 0.4%. It is less than 0.5% from its all-time closing high of 1,565.15, set in October 2007. The Nasdaq also gained 0.3%.

The daily grind higher in stocks “is acting like water torture for both bulls and bears,” said Sam Stovall, chief equity strategist at SP Capital IQ.

Related: Dow’s best run since 1996

On one hand, bulls are worrying about slowing momentum in the stock rally, on the other, the bears are spooked by the fact that stocks keep going up, Stovall said.

“Investors are in search of a new catalyst to trigger the next move,” he said, adding that the SP 500 will likely pull back briefly before it reaches a new high.

In economic news, investors were encouraged after a Labor Department report showed that initial jobless claims fell to 332,000 last week, coming in below forecasts for 350,000 and signaling ongoing improvement in the labor market.

On the corporate front, Men’s Wearhouse (MW) soared 19% after reporting earnings, a $200 million share buyback and new guidance.

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Shares of Blackberry (BBRY) pulled back Thursday, a day after rallying on the announcement that the company received one million orders for its Blackberry 10 device from an unnamed partner.

E*Trade (ETFC)shares fell after a major shareholder said it planned to sell its entire stake in the company.

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European markets ended higher, with Germany’s DAX leading the way. A two-day summit of European leaders kicks off Thursday.

Asian markets also ended firmer. Japan’s Nikkei was up 1.2% but the Shanghai Composite and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng continued to lag on talk of efforts to control rising prices.

“We shall take measures, including monetary policy adjustments, to stabilize prices, and lower inflation expectations,” Zhou Xiaochuan, China’s central bank governor, said Wednesday.

The dollar lost ground against the euro, British pound and Japanese yen.

Oil and gold prices edged higher.

The price on the 10-year Treasury fell slightly, pushing the yield up to 2.04% from 2.02% late Wednesday.

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