Dow, S&P 500 close at records for second day in a row as investors look ahead to US jobs report

NEW YORK (AFP) - The Dow and S&P 500 closed at new record highs for the second day in a row on Thursday as investors looked ahead to Friday's jobs report.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 69.94 points (0.40 per cent) to 17,554.47 and the broad-based S&P 500 gained 7.64 (0.38 per cent) at 2,031.21.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index tacked on 17.75 (0.38 per cent) at 4,638.47.

Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities, described sentiment as "fairly positive" following data earlier this week. Reports this week have shown solid activity in the services and manufacturing sectors and a gain in private-sector hiring in October.

Analysts on average expect Friday's nonfarm payroll report will show the US economy added 235,000 jobs in October, slightly fewer than in September but still solid jobs growth.

Hogan said investors were also cheered by comments from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi signaling that the central bank was readying further stimulus measures if needed to counter deflation and stagnation in the ailing eurozone economy.

Chip developer Qualcomm tumbled 8.6 per cent as it disclosed that the US Federal Trade Commission is in the early stages of an investigation into its licensing business.

Electric luxury car maker Tesla Motors gained 4.4 per cent as third-quarter sales came in nearly double the level of a year ago at $851.8 million, overcoming doubts about the sustainability of its sales.

Whole Foods Market shot up 12.2 per cent after reporting a 5.8 per cent increase in fiscal fourth-quarter profits to US$128 million behind a 3.1 per cent rise in same-store sales.