* S&P posts best two-day run in more than two months
* U.S. jobless claims drop to two-month low
* Amazon.com hits all-time high on analyst report
* Indexes up: Dow 0.54 pct, S&P 0.65 pct, Nasdaq 0.84 pct
(Updates with close of U.S. markets)
By Lewis Krauskopf
Sept 22 U.S. stocks climbed on Thursday, with
big tech names leading broad gains, building on strength from a
day earlier that was fueled by the Federal Reserve's decision to
stand pat on interest rates.
The S&P 500 tallied its best two-day performance in more
than two months, while the Nasdaq closed at a record high.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen said on Wednesday that U.S. growth
was looking stronger and rate increases would be needed to keep
the economy from overheating and fueling high inflation. But the
central bank maintained the low-interest rate environment that
has helped underpin the bull market for stocks.
"Lower for longer is a good thing for the equity markets..."
said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management
in Chicago. "It basically says risk back on."
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 98.76 points,
or 0.54 percent, to 18,392.46, the S&P 500 gained 14.06
points, or 0.65 percent, to 2,177.18 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 44.34 points, or 0.84 percent, to 5,339.52.
The three indexes recorded their third straight session of
Concerns over whether the Fed would raise rates prompted a
return of stock market volatility in recent weeks after two
months of calm. For the year, the benchmark S&P 500 is up 6.5
Aside from the potential for Monday's U.S. presidential
debate having a big impact on the election, "there's really
nothing on the horizon until earnings season, and the Fed has
kind of cleared the way for accommodative policy and low
interest rate environment which bodes well for stocks," said
Alan Lancz, president of investment advisory firm Alan B. Lancz
& Associates in Toledo, Ohio.
The Fed strongly signaled it could still tighten monetary
policy by year-end, and as of Thursday afternoon traders set the
probability of a hike at the Fed's December meeting at 58
percent, according to the CME Group's FedWatch website.
Adding some support for the Fed to raise rates later this
year, a report showed number of Americans filing for
unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week to a two-month
All 11 major S&P sectors closed in positive territory, led
by a 1.9-percent gain for the real estate sector.
Shares of Amazon.com rose 1.9 percent to close
above $800 for the first time following a price target raise by
BMO. Apple shares gained 0.9 percent after
positive analyst reports. The stocks were the
biggest positive influences on the S&P.
About 6.8 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, in
line with the daily average for the past 20 trading days,
according to Thomson Reuters data.
NYSE advancing issues outnumbered decliners 4.84-to-1; on
Nasdaq, a 2.54-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 28 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the
Nasdaq Composite recorded 165 new highs and 14 new lows.
(Additional reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru;
Editing by Don Sebastian and Nick Zieminski)