Dow reaches 34,000 after strong gains, economic data

US stock indexes rose to new highs on Thursday, with the Dow Jones industrial average hitting 34,000 for the first time.

Strong earnings reports and improved economic data pushed the Dow up 0.8% to about 34005 in afternoon trading. The S&P 500 gained 1%, setting both indices to a record-breaking pace.

Nasdaq Composite, with an advanced technological intensity, increased by 1.2%, as the shares of large technology stocks increased.

A strong rally has pushed stocks to repeat highs in 2021, and many investors believe the launch of Covid-19 vaccines and heavy government spending suggest that stocks continue to rise further. The S&P 500 and Dow rose about 11 percent a year.

Investors will monitor earnings reports in the coming weeks as they assess how the corporate earnings outlook aligns with rising stock prices. Analysts expect earnings among S&P 500 companies to increase 29% in the first quarter from the same period a year earlier, according to FactSet.