U.S. stocks closed mixed Thursday and the Dow Jones industrial average ended with the highest since 2000 on strong earning of giant companies, as world crude oil prices retreated below 72 dollars.
Labor Department said Thursday that U.S. unemployment claims fell by 10,000 to 303,000 in the week ended April 15, The four- week average of continuing claims fell 6,000 to 2.44 million for the week. This is the lowest level since February 2001. The number of continuing claims peaked at 3.75 million in May 2003.
The Conference Board reported Thursday that the Composite Index of Leading Economic Indicators dipped 0.1% in March, following a 0. 5% decline in February.
World crude oil prices retreated below 72 dollars Thursday as trader took profit,after hitting record highs Wednesday amid worries of supply in Iran and Nigeria.
Among companies in focus, General Motors Corp., the world's largest automaker, reported a sixth straight quarterly loss that beat analysts' estimates, helped by a smaller loss in its North American auto operations and a profit in Europe.
Nokia, the world's largest mobile phone handset maker, posted a 21 percent profit rise to 1.05 billion euros, with sales up 29 percent to 9.51 billion euros.
At the closing time, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 64. 12, or 0.57 percent, to 11,342.89, the highest since Jan. 20, 2000. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 1.53, or 0.12 percent, to 1,311.46, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 8.33, or 0.35 percent, to 2,362.55.