The S&P 500 flirted with an all-time high Thursday as equity markets continued their upward march in the wake of strong labor data and bullish market sentiment.
The S&P 500, a broad-based index that includes all major segments of the US economy, finished at 1,563.23, up 8.71 points (0.56 percent). The all-time closing record of 1,565.15 was set in October 2007.
The S&P 500 looked to follow in the footsteps of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which broke its all-time record for the eighth straight day, closing at 14,539.14, up 83.86 (0.58 percent).
The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite index climbed 13.81 (0.43 percent) to 3,258.93.
The trading was boosted by news that US jobless claims declined for the third week in a row, sinking 10,000 to 332,000.
"The stock market tends to lead the economy, whether the economy is expanding or contracting, by about six months," said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at Standard & Poor's.
"The implication is that investors believe the US economy and also the global economy is likely to see an improvement in its overall trajectory," Stovall added.
Banking equities were among the biggest gainers, with JPMorgan Chase picking up 1.7 percent, Bank of America adding 0.4 percent and Goldman Sachs rising 1.4 percent.
But some technology firms saw big drops. Amazon retreated 3.4 percent, Netflix sank 2.1 percent and E*TRADE Financial declined 8.2 percent.
Men's Wearhouse rose 19.1 percent despite reporting a deeper loss than expected. The clothing chain announced a $200 million share repurchase program and said it had hired investment bank Jefferies to help it consider "strategic alternatives" for its K&G discount stores.
EMC and VMware added gains for a second day after unveiling their ambitious new joint initiative for a cloud-based data processing company. EMC shares were up 2.9 percent, while VMware rose 4.6 percent.
Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.03 percent compared with 2.02 percent late Wednesday, while the 30-year yield rose to 3.24 percent from 3.22 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.