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Stocks close higher, breaking five day losing streak

<i>NDZ/STAR MAX/IPx/AP</i><br/>US stocks surged higher Thursday morning. The Fearless Girl statue stands in front of the New York Stock Exchange on December 2
US stocks surged higher Thursday morning. The Fearless Girl statue stands in front of the New York Stock Exchange on December 2

By Nicole Goodkind, CNN Business

US stocks surged higher on Thursday as investors staged a comeback from their current losing streak, spurred on by recession and interest rate hike fears.

The Dow closed 184 points, or 0.6% higher. The S&P 500 gained 0.8%, while the Nasdaq Composite added 1.1%.

Gains in semiconductor stocks such as Nvidia and Qualcomm boosted the information technology sector. The energy sector also surged as Chevron, Exxon and Halliburton saw gains despite falling crude oil prices. Both Chevron and Exxon announced plans Thursday to spend billions more on oil projects next year.

The gains follow five consecutive days of losses for the S&P 500, which fell 3.6% over the past week. The Nasdaq has lost 4.4% over the same period, marking its worst first week of December since 1975, according to a report from Bespoke Investment Group.

Thursday’s jump came after Labor Department figures showed that filings for unemployment insurance rose slightly last week, but were in line with estimates.

Investors are closely watching the jobs market for clues about what the Federal Reserve will do at their policy meeting next week. Market watchers are largely expecting a half-point rate increase but are unsure how long the central bank will continue its hiking campaign.

“A notable increase in jobless claims is evident compared to the cyclical lows last spring,” said Jim Baird, Plante Moran Financial Advisors CIO. “Against that softer labor market backdrop and with evidence that inflation gauges have likely peaked and should continue to ease in the coming months, the Fed appears to be ready to also ease up on the pace of interest rate hikes, while continuing to tighten.”

More earnings come after the bell Thursday with Costco and Lululemon expected to report.

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