U.S. Markets:
U.S. stocks recorded solid gains for the week and most major indexes are now back within 2% of their all-time highs, set last September. The S&P 500 index recorded seven consecutive days of gains, its longest winning streak since 2017. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 496 points last week to close at 26,424, a gain of 1.9%. The technology-heavy NASDAQ Composite gained 2.7% and closed at 7,938. By market cap, the large-cap S&P 500 rose 2.1%, while both the S&P 400 mid-cap index and small-cap Russell 2000 index added 2.8%.

International Markets:
All major international markets finished in the green last week. Canada’s TSX rose 1.8% and the United Kingdom’s FTSE added 2.3%. On Europe’s mainland, France’s CAC 40 gained 2.4%, Germany’s DAX surged 4.2%, and Italy’s Milan FTSE rose 2.2%. In Asia, China’s Shanghai Composite jumped 5.0%, while Japan’s Nikkei added 2.8%. As grouped by Morgan Stanley Capital International, developed markets rose 2.1%, while emerging markets surged 3.5%.

Commodities:
Precious metals were weak, reacting to strength in the stock markets. Gold retreated -0.2% to close at $1295.60 an ounce, and Silver also finished down -0.2% at $15.09 per ounce. Energy continued to be bid higher, now up five consecutive weeks. West Texas Intermediate crude oil surged 4.9%, closing at $63.09 per barrel. The industrial metal copper, viewed by analysts as a barometer of global economic health due to its variety of industrial uses, retreated -1.4% last week.

U.S. Economic News:
The number of people applying for first-time unemployment benefits at the end of last month fell to their lowest level in almost 50 years—a very reassuring sign for the economy amid other reports which hinted at slower growth early in the year. The Labor Department reported initial jobless claims fell by 10,000 to 202,000. Economists had forecast a reading of 216,000. Jobless claims have fallen three weeks in a row and are down sharply from the beginning of the year. The downward descent is also apparent in the less-volatile monthly moving average of claims, which fell by 4,000 to 213,000. That number is at its lowest level since October. Continuing claims, which counts the number of people already receiving benefits, slipped by 38,000 to 1.72 million.