Ford, GM announce deeper production cuts due to chip shortage

The S&P 500 rallied to record highs Thursday as Big Tech outperformed and as weekly jobless claims unexpectedly rose.

The benchmark S&P 500 rose 0.42% while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.03%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, meanwhile, climbed 57 points, or 0.17% to finish less than 25 points below its own all-time peak.

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The gains came a day after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s March meeting showed the central bank plans to continue the pace of its asset purchase program in an effort to meet its dual mandate of maximum employment and price stability and despite initial jobless claims ticking higher. 

The number of Americans filing first-time jobless benefits totaled 744,000 the Labor Department said Thursday. The reading was more than the 680,000 forecast by economists and above the previous week's total, which was revised up by 9,000 to 728,000 claims. 

In stocks, Big Tech outperformed with Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc. pacing the Dow.