US Stocks Move Higher

(AP) -- Stocks were moderately higher Thursday, helped by a rise in technology companies as well as smaller companies, which would benefit from a quickly growing economy.

The S&P 500 rose 0.8% as of 10:10 a.m. Eastern, crossing the 4,000-point mark for the first time in its history. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2% and the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped 1.7%. The Russell 2000 index of small companies was up 1.2%.

It's a holiday-shortened week for the stock market. The stock exchanges will be closed in observance of Good Friday. Bond trading will be open for half a day, closing at noon Eastern.

Technology stocks were benefiting from another drop in bond yields, which have been the driving force for the market for several weeks. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell to 1.69% from 1.73% the day before. Higher bond yields make stocks more expensive by comparison, and tech stocks are among the most expensive after their significant rise last year.

Apple rose 1%, Tesla climbed 2.5%, and Microsoft and Facebook each added 2%.

Tesla was also benefiting from news out of Washington, where President Joe Biden outlined various measures to support their use as part of his massive infrastructure plan. Part of that plan includes installation of thousands of additional charging stations around the country to make electric car usage more accessible. Electric vehicle charger operators ChargePoint and Blink Charging were up 8% and 4%, respectively.

Investors also continue to monitor news about how well the U.S. economy is recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, now that millions of vaccines are being administered daily to Americans as well as around the world. While investors are optimistic that things will recover soon, there's still a lot of economic pain to go around.

The Labor Department said the number of Americans who filed for unemployment benefits last week rose to 719,000 last week from 658,000 the previous week. That figure was expected to decline.