Stocks climbed higher on Thursday as economic recovery sentiment was boosted by a new pandemic low for weekly jobless claims and investors looked ahead to April's jobs report. All three benchmarks rose, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing near its session high to another record close.

The Labor Department reported that initial weekly unemployment gains totaled 498,000 for the week ended May 1, falling below 500,000 for the first time since March 2020. The better-than-expected report improved from last week's upwardly revised 590,000 total. Meanwhile, continuing jobless claims unexpectedly increased for the week ended April 14 to 3.690 million, totaling above the prior week's 3.653 million.

Here's how the market settled on Thursday:

S&P 500 Index (SPY  ): +0.82% or +34.03 points to 4,201.62

Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA  ): +0.93% or +318.19 points to 34,548.53

Nasdaq Composite Index (QQQ  ): +0.37% or +50.42 points to 13,632.84

For Stocks, coronavirus vaccine maker--BioNTech (BNTX  ), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ  ), Pfizer (PFE  ) and Moderna (MRNA  )--shares fell after the United States signalled that it supports waiving intellectual property protections for COVID vaccines. Etsy (ETSY  ) shares plummeted lower after the ecommerce platform warned that sales will likely slowdown as its pandemic gains ease.

For Sector Performance, all sectors on the S&P 500 ended the session in the green with Financials (XLF  ), Consumer Staples (XLP  ), Communication Services (XLC  ) and Information Technology (XLK  ) leading gains.

For Commodities and Currency, the U.S. Dollar (UUP  ) slipped on Thursday as global market risk appetite improved. The dollar index was down by 0.34% at 90.948 in afternoon trading against six other global currencies. Gold (GLD  ) jumped over the $1,800 level on the weaker dollar. Spot gold was up 1.6% at $1,814.50 per ounce in later market trade, while U.S. gold futures settled 1.8% higher at $1,815.17 per ounce. Crude oil futures dipped on Thursday as outlooks come under pressure on surging coronavirus cases in India. International benchmark Brent Crude (BNO  ) slipped by 0.6% to $68.54 per barrel, while domestic index West Texas Intermediate (USO  ) was down by 1.4% at $64.71 each.

For Friday, traders will focus on the Labor Department's monthly job's report for April, as well as quarterly earnings reports from companies like DraftKings (DKNG  ) and Nikola (NKLA  ).