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Stocks Close Higher, Dow Puts on Nearly 100 Points

<p>Stocks close higher as investors appear to ignore a mixed bag of economic reports and corporate earnings.</p>
/ Source:

Stocks closed higher on Thursday, with the Dow putting on nearly 100 points and the S&P 500 closing in on a record high, as investors seemed to shrug off a mixed bag of economic and earnings reports.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended unofficially 92 points higher, boosted by Verizon and DuPont.

The Nasdaq rose 29 points and the S&P 500 put on 11 to move within 11 points of its all-time high of 1,850.84.

On the economic front, jobless claims declined less than expected in the latest week, while consumer prices ticked up 0.1 percent in January, matching expectations.

Meanwhile, data from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve showed manufacturing activity in the Mid-Atlantic region unexpectedly contracted in February as new orders plunged.

Investors have been largely shrugging off lower-than-expected economic data over the last two weeks, pointing to harsh weather as a reason for unexpected weakness in reports.