First-time unemployment claims dropped by 10,000 to 316,000. The data offset a slight slide in durable goods orders that was largely expected and a Fed National Activity Index shift into the negative.
The Conference Board said that the U.S. leading economic index made a slight push higher in October.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed at a record high for the second consecutive session, adding 24.53 points, or 0.15 percent, to 16,097.33. The Standard & Poor's 500 beat Friday's record high with a gain of 4.48 points, or 0.25 percent, closing at 1,807.23.
The Nasdaq composite index gained 27 points, or 0.67 percent, to 4,044.75, closing above 4,000 points for the second consecutive session and for the second time in 13 years.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,929 issues advanced while 1,145 declined on a trading volume of 2.5 billion shares.
The London FTSE shed added 13.25 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 6,649.47. In Tokyo, the Japanese Nikkei 225 gave up 65.61 points, or 0.42 percent, to 15,449.63.
The 10-year treasury note yielded 2.743 percent, off 8/32.
The euro rose to $1.3571 while the dollar rose to 102.17 yen.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold closed at $1,236.40 an ounce, off $5.10, while silver lost 22.3 cents to $19.67 an ounce.
Crude oil settled at $92.28, down $1.40 cents, on the NYMEX.
On the Chicago Board of Trade, March corn gained 1 3/4 cents to $4.26 1/2 per bushel; January soybeans lost 9 3/4 to $13.19 1/2; March wheat added 8 1/2 to $6.64 1/2.
On Tuesday, stocks finished slightly higher, with the Nasdaq scoring its first close above 4,000 since September 2000. The Dow eked out another record close, while the S&P 500 edged up but finished below Friday's record close of 1,804.76.
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