NEW YORK: The stock market crept higher Wednesday ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. Major market indexes got a slight lift after news broke of a cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 48.38 points to 12,836.89. Three of the most expensive stocks in the average — Boeing, IBM and United Technologies — each rose more than 60 cents. Higher-priced stocks in the Dow carry more weight.
The Labor Department said that first-time applications for unemployment benefits fell by 41,000 last week to 410,000. The figure remains temporarily high because of Superstorm Sandy and was in line with what economists had expected.
“The news today didn’t mess anything up,” said Harry Clark, CEO of Clark Capital Management, an investment advisory firm in Philadelphia. “With no bad news, this market will drift higher.”
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 3.22 points to 1,391.03. Utilities fell the most, while telecommunication companies rose the most, but no category moved more than 0.6 percent.
The Nasdaq composite index rose 9.87 points to 2,926.55. In the bond market, the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note inched up to 1.68 percent.
The stock market will be closed today for Thanksgiving and will close early Friday.
Deere, the maker of tractors and construction equipment, dropped 4 percent. It reported a quarterly profit of $1.75 per share, missing Wall Street expectations of $1.88.
Zale plunged 30 percent after the jewelry store chain reported a larger loss than analysts expected.