NEW YORK, March 14 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks continued to move higher on Thursday, with the Standard & Poor's 500-stock Index closing at less than 2 points shy of its all-time high, boosted by better-than-expected U.S. jobs data.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 83.86 points, or 0.56 percent, to 14,539.14. The blue-chip index set new record high for eight sessions in a row and scored a 10-session winning streak not seen since November 1996.
The broader S&P 500 moved up 8.71 points, or 0.56 percent, to 1, 563.23, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 13.81 points, or 0.43 percent, to 3,258.93.
The advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims in the week ending March 9, was 332,000, a decrease of 10, 000 from the previous week's revised figure of 342,000, according to the U.S. Commerce Department Thursday.
The four-week moving average, a smoother indicator, stood at 346,750, a decrease of 2,750 from the previous week's revised average of 349,500, pointing to a sustained recovery in the labor market.
The Commerce Department also reported that the U.S. Producer Price Index for finished goods increased 0.7 percent in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, following a moving-up of 0.2 percent in the prior month.
Meanwhile, the U.S. current account deficit decreased to 110.4 billion U.S. dollars in the fourth quarter from a revised 112.4 billion dollars in the third quarter.
Wall Street was also bolstered by a broad rally in the Asian and European equity markets on Thursday. A strong demand for Spanish government bond added to positive sentiment in the market.
In terms of sectors, energy shares led gains in main sectors of the S&P 500. Energy companies benefited from a rising price of natural gas.
In corporate news, Amazon shares fell 3.40 percent to 265.74 dollars after JP Morgan Chase downgraded its rating on the e- commerce retailer's stock to "neutral" from "overweight."
However, eBay shares advanced 1.61 percent to 51.80 dollars after an analyst from Evercore Partners upgraded his rating on the marketplace operator's stock to "overweight" from "equal weight."
Apple shares inched up 0.97 percent to 432.50 dollars as an analyst from BTIG raised his rating on the tech giant's stock to "buy" from "neutral."