* S&P 500, Dow, Nasdaq, Russell 2000 hit record intraday
* U.S. jobless claims drop from five-month high
* Express Scripts shares dive after short-seller comments
* Indexes up: Dow 0.29 pct, S&P 0.12 pct, Nasdaq 0.11 pct
(Updates to late afternoon)
By Lewis Krauskopf
Dec 8 Major U.S. stock indexes climbed again on
Thursday and set fresh record highs, bolstered by data showing
U.S. labor market strength, as a month-long rally since the
presidential election of Donald Trump rolled on.
Investors have driven up equities since Trump's Nov. 8
election over optimism about domestic economic stimulus and
reduced corporate taxes and regulations.
Supporting the upbeat sentiment was a report that showed the
number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell from a
five-month high last week, pointing to labor market strength
that underscored the economy's momentum.
Financials, among the major gainers since the
election, led the way again on Thursday, rising 0.9 percent.
"This is just a continued melt-up post-election. The path of
least resistance has been higher," said Jason Ware, chief
investment officer with Albion Financial Group in Salt Lake
"Seasonally, you have a strong period. You have money coming
out of the bond market ... so that money has to go somewhere,"
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 56.72 points,
or 0.29 percent, to 19,606.34, the S&P 500 gained 2.68
points, or 0.12 percent, to 2,244.03 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 6.15 points, or 0.11 percent, to 5,399.91.
All three indexes set new intraday records, although they
came off session highs. The Russell 2000 index of
small-cap stocks, which has soared 15 percent since the
election, also hit a new high.
The Dow Jones Transport index rose 0.3 percent, a day
after setting a new closing record high for the first time in
two years. The fresh high triggered a bullish sign for some
investors who look for parallel performance for both the Dow
industrial and transportation averages.
Investors were also digesting the European Central Bank's
decision to trim back its asset buys but also its vow of
protracted stimulus to aid a still-fragile recovery.
Next week's Federal Reserve meeting, at which the U.S.
central bank is widely expected to raise interest rates, is also
coming into focus as market participants seek clues about the
future pace of any rate hikes.
In corporate news, Lululemon soared 15.2 percent
after the yoga and leisure apparel retailer reported a
better-than-expected quarterly profit.
Express Scripts shares tumbled 7.5 percent after
short-seller Citron Research called the pharmacy benefit manager
the "real culprit" in drug price gouging.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a
1.60-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.97-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 111 new 52-week highs and 4 new lows; the
Nasdaq Composite recorded 451 new highs and 23 new lows.
(Additional reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru;
Editing by Anil D'Silva and Nick Zieminski)