New York, N.Y. (WTVA) -- Stocks were higher Thursday, with the Dow setting a fresh high, lifted by a better-than-expected jobless claims report and ahead of the second day of Fed Chairman Bernanke's testimony.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed above its previous all-time high of 15,542.40.
The S&P 500 traded within a hair's breadth of its all-time high, while the Nasdaq was slightly lower.
On the economic front, weekly jobless claims dropped by 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 334,000, according to the Labor Department, to its lowest level in four months.
Economists polled by Reuters expected first-time applications to fall to 345,000 last week.
On Wednesday, Bernanke reassured markets that there was no concrete timetable for the Fed to scale back its bond purchase program.
"Our asset purchases depend on economic and financial developments, but they are by no means on a preset course," Bernanke said in his statement to the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee.
Bernanke also emphasized that there could be a lengthy time-lag between the end of asset purchases and a hike in interest rates.
Bernanke will head back to Capitol Hill on Thursday to testify before the Senate Banking Committee.