Category: Markets / Finance / October 4, 2012 5:16 PM EDT
The S&P 500 extended gains to a fourth day on Thursday, putting it on the cusp of a new five-year high if Friday's jobs report shows encouraging signs for the labor market.
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose only slightly last week after a big drop the week before, the Labor Department reported on Thursday, leading to hopes that Friday's closely watched non-farm payrolls report would show improvement.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 80.75 points, or 0.6 percent, to 13,575.36 at the close. The S&P 500 rose 10.41 points, or 0.72 percent, to 1,461.40. The Nasdaq Composite added 14.23 points, or 0.45 percent, to end at 3,149.46.