Even though the Dow Jones industrial average was on track to post its eighth consecutive record high, attention moved to the broader S&P 500 on Thursday, as it moved within earshot of its own record.
In midday activity, the S&P 500 was up nearly 7 points or 0.4 per cent, to 1561. Its record high is 1565.15, from October 2007. Meanwhile, the Dow was on track to extending its streak to 10 days. It was up 64 points or 0.4 per cent, to 14,519.
In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index rebounded from an earlier decline. In midday trading, it was up 14 points or 0.1 per cent, to 12,758.
The moves follow another upbeat reading on U.S. jobless claims. Initial claims for the period ended last week fell to 332,000, down 10,000. The four-week average fell to its lowest level since March 2008.
Within the S&P 500, energy stocks rose 1.1 per cent, telecom stocks rose 0.7 per cent, technology stocks rose 0.6 per cent and financials rose 0.5 per cent. Defensive health-care stocks and utilities were down slightly.
Within Canada's benchmark index, telecom stocks rose 0.8 per cent and energy stocks rose 0.6 per cent. However, materials were flat and financials slipped 0.3 per cent.
Quebecor Inc. fell 4.7 per cent after it reported weak quarterly results. Earnings declined to $9.2-million or 15 cents a share, down from $1.34 a share last year. As well, Pierre Karl Péladeau announced he will step down from as Quebecor's chief executive.
Key commodities were relatively unchanged. Crude oil fell 2 cents, to $92.35 (U.S.) a barrel. Gold rose 40 cents, to $1,589 an ounce.
In Europe, stocks rallied. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 was up 0.8 per cent in afternoon trading. Germany's DAX index was up 1 per cent.