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US stocks end at record highs after drop in jobless claims and Fed meeting

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NEW YORK — The U.S. stock market is closing at record highs following another piece of good news on the economy.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose nine points, or 0.5 percent, to close at a record 2,011 on Thursday. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 109 points, or 0.6 percent, to 17,265 also a record. The Nasdaq composite jumped 31 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,593.

Fewer Americans filed first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week, according to the Labor Department. Weekly applications fell 36,000 to 280,000, well below economists' forecasts.

Also, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday made clear it would keep interest rates at record lows for a while. Low rates have boosted the market by helping revive the economy and making stocks more attractive compared with bonds.

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