July 2 (UPI) — The S&P 500 climbed for a sixth consecutive day Thursday as all three major indexes posted gains to start off the second half of 2021.
The S&P gained 0.52% to rise to a new record at 4,319.94 points at the end of trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also increased 131.02 points, or 0.38%, and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.13%.
Energy stocks helped lead Thursday’s rise as West Texas Intermediate crude rose above $75 per barrel and Chevron stock gained 1.4% as one of the best performing on the Dow.
Nike was also among the Dow leaders, rising 2.27%, while Walgreens, which was one of the best performing stocks on the Dow in the first half of the year, fell 7.41%.
Thursday’s gains also came amid positive economic data as the Labor Department reported that total initial unemployment claims for last week were 364,000, a decrease of 51,000 claims.
Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Leuthold Group, told CNBC that economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic has helped to boost the stock market in the first half of the year.
“Better news on COVID, vaccinations, re-openings, economic growth and earnings fueled the advance,” Paulsen said. “Nearly equal gains were achieved in both quarters by a rotation in leadership allowing broad participation.”
In the first two quarters of 2021, the S&P 500 rose 14%, while the Dow and Nasdaq each gained 12%.