US stocks pushed to new record levels Thursday after the government's weekly report on jobless claims came in better than expected.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 62.90 (0.42 percent) to 14,865.14, while the broad-based S&P 500 rose 5.64 (0.36 percent) to 1,593.37.
Both the Dow and the S&P 500 set new all-time highs for the second day in a row.
The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 2.90 (0.09 percent) to 3,300.16.
The Labor Department reported that new claims for unemployment benefits -- an indicator of the pace of layoffs -- came in at 346,000 last week, well below the 365,000 expected by analysts and a sharp fall from the previous week.
"When we were going to the fiscal cliff there was a great deal of nervousness and anxiety, and now there is a great deal of confidence that the economy is going to grow and that the Fed is going to continue to stimulate," said Alan Skrainka of Cornerstone Wealth Management.
Pharmaceutical companies had a good day, with Pfizer jumping 2.3 percent and Merck rising 0.8 percent. US auto giants also did well, Ford gaining 3.2 percent) and General Motors 4.7 percent.
Equities linked to personal computers sank after a report said the PC market shrank nearly 14 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier.
Hewlett-Packard plummeted 6.5 percent, chip-maker Intel dropped 1.8 percent and Dell declined 1.2 percent.
Microsoft fell 4.4 percent after being downgraded by Goldman Sachs and Hilliard Lyons, which said the company's success with the Windows Phone "does not offset the secular shift away from the PC and the Windows operating system."
Wireless carrier MetroPCS dropped 2.2 percent, giving up most of Wednesday's sharp gains made as Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile USA improved its bid for the company.
Drugstore chain Rite Aid surged 18.4 percent after reporting a big jump in quarterly earnings.
Ross Stores jumped 5.9 percent after raising their earnings forecasts as same-store sales performed better than expected.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury dipped to 1.79 percent from 1.81 percent late Wednesday, while the 30-year bond slipped to 3.00 percent from 3.01 percent. Bond prices move inversely to yields.