U.S. stocks extended gains Thursday, lifting the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 above their milestone levels again, as economic data came in better than expected.
On the economic front, in the week ending June 22, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims was 346,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 355,000, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday.
The jobless claims data are favorable, adding momentum to the market's rally, but the improvement was not so strong as to cause anxiety that the Federal Reserve may scale back its stimulus soon.
Separately, U.S. personal income increased 0.5 percent in May following a 0.1 percent rise in April, while personal consumption expenditures rose 0.3 percent in May, reversing a 0.3 percent decline in April, the Commerce Department said.
In the previous trading day, U.S. stocks jumped roughly 1 percent despite an unexpected cut of the U.S. gross domestic product in the first quarter of 2013.
Following the lead of the U.S. market, Asian markets closed mostly up Thursday and European shares also traded higher.
Later in the day, Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell and New York Federal Reserve Bank President William Dudley are due to give speeches, which are expected to attract market attention.
Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 110.74 points, or 0.74 percent, to 15,020.88 points. The S&P 500 rose 10.63 points, or 0.66 percent, to 1,613.89 points. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 21.43 points, or 0.63 percent, to 3,397.65 points.