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Stocks gain for fifth day on unemployment report

Mar. 08, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

NEW YORK -- The Dow pushed further into record territory Thursday, having surpassed its previous all-time high two days ago. The catalyst was the latest evidence that hiring is picking up.

Stocks started higher after the Labor Department reported that the number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell by 7,000 last week, driving the four-week average to its lowest in five years. The drop is a positive sign ahead of Friday's employment report.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 33.25 points, or 0.2 percent, to 14,329.49. The Standard & Poor's 500 gained 2.80 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,544.26. Both indexes rose for the fifth day straight.

Investors have been buying stocks on optimism that employers are slowly starting to hire again and that the housing market is recovering.

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