Housing Data Pushes Stocks Higher
(NEW YORK) -- A lackluster weekly jobless report didn't do much to stop the markets Thursday. Encouraging news on home sales seemed to help stocks along.
The Dow closed up 114 points Thursday, while the Nasdaq and the S&P gained 21 points and nine points, respectively.
This week's jobs numbers aren't that bad, but they could be better, according to some analysts. First time jobless claims fell by 1,000 this week to 388,000, leaving the figures stuck at a three-month high -- a sign that hiring could be slowing. Analysts had expected new jobless claims to come in at 376,000.
The National Association of Realtors says the number of people who signed contracts for homes rose to its highest level in nearly two years. Cancellation of sales contracts continues to be a drain on the market, though, with many prospective buyers unable to qualify for mortgages.
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