Wall Street closes higher

S&P 500 again moves to new heights as Dow falls just shy of record.

The S&P 500 has edged to a new record for a second consecutive day as investors cheered a solid report on jobless claims.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 14.84 points, or 0.09%, to 16,921.46, within 25 points of a new peak.

The broad-based S&P 500 edged up 2.50 points, or 0.13%, to a new record of 1,959.48, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index bucked the trend to lose 3.51 points, or 0.08%, to 4,359.33.

The Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims fell by 6,000 to 312,000 in the week ending June 14, slightly better than the 313,000 analyst estimate.

The four-week moving average, which smooths weekly volatility, was 311,750, compared with a revised 315,500 the prior week and 346,500 a year ago.

The labour report "didn't present any interference for the bulls," said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare.

The S&P 500 reached a new peak yesterday after the Fed confirmed its policy of ultra-low interest rates and did not accelerate the timeframe for raising them.

Wednesday's stay-the-course message from the Fed "doesn't mean the stock market necessarily goes straight up from here, but it probably means that, absent some exogenous shock, the buy-the-dip mentality" will continue, O'Hare said.

Meanwhile, several commodities saw a strong trading session, with the latest Fed talk pushing gold up 3.3% and continued trouble in Iraq lifting oil prices to a nine-month peak.