NEW YORK (Forex News Now) – U.S. stock markets rallied for a third day on Thursday, as reports of improving sales in the retail sector and upbeat data on jobless claims boosted confidence in the U.S. economy.
At the close of trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 120.7 points, or 1.2 percent, to 10,138; the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index gained 10 points, or 0.94 percent, to 1,070; and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 15.9 points, or 0.74 percent, to 2,175.
Among stocks in focus, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. jumped 7.8 percent and J.C. Penney Co. surged 6.7 percent after reporting better-than-expected sales in June.
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The gains in U.S. stock markets also came as the International Monetary Fund raised its growth forecast for the global economy.
In a statement accompanying the IMF’s latest report, Olivier Blanchard, the organization’s chief economist, said: “While we predict the recovery will continue, it is clear that downside risks have risen sharply.”
U.S. Labor Department data showed earlier that the number of workers filing new claims for unemployment benefits last week fell by 21,000 to 454,000.
Global forex analysts had expected claims to drop to 460,000, two major financial news outlets reported.