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News Link • Economy - Economics USA

Wall St rises, nearing 4-year highs

• By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street stocks rose on Thursday after data showed the U.S. labor market remained on the mend, but the market stalled as it approached highs not seen since before the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers.

In an upbeat note for the economy, new U.S. claims for unemployment benefits held steady last week and were at the lowest since the early days of the 2007-2009 recession.

Thursday's gains brought the benchmark S&P 500 index near 1,370, considered the upper end of a technical barrier. The broad index has surged 8.4 percent this year and more than 20 percent from October lows, but many worry the market will soon run out of steam.
In the past four sessions, the S&P has hovered around 1,360, closing on Thursday at a 9-month high.

"You have a reluctance to buy knowing we're right up at former highs," said Todd Salamone, director of research at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati.

But the market has also been reluctant to sell off on bad news. Some analysts say the main factor preventing a correction has been the result of a commonly used investor protection.

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