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Market Recap: Stocks Gain on Upbeat Data

Markets closed up on Wall Street today:

▲ Dow +0.22 percent

▲ S&P +0.62 percent

▲ Nasdaq +0.74 percent

▲ Oil +1.76 percent

▲ Gold +0.33 percent

On the commodities front:

▲ Oil rose to $108.95 a barrel

Precious metals:

Gold climbed to $1,716.90 an ounce

▲ Silver rose 2.53 percent to settle at $35.52

(Related: Gold and Silver Bounce Higher After Sharp Pullback)

Today’s markets were up because:

1) Jobs: New claims for unemployment benefits continued to decline last week, holding close to four-year lows, according to a Labor Department report on Thursday. The jobless data, paired with upbeat reports on personal income and spending, led to an early morning rally.

2) Manufacturing: Markets dipped after an index of U.S. manufacturing activity came in weaker than expected. U.S. manufacturing has been one of the few bright spots in the global economy, but growth cooled in February. However, stocks ultimately pared losses, as the report still signaled expansion in the sector, and the day’s other economic indicators were consistent with better economic growth.

3) Financials: The financial sector led today’s advance, with JPMorgan and Citigroup climbing more than 2 percent, while Goldman Sachs closed the day up 5 percent.

[Editor’s note: the above is a cross post that originally appeared on Wall St. Cheat Sheet.]

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