NEW YORK (AFP) – The Nasdaq powered its way to a fresh record on Thursday (Aug 6), shrugging off a stalemate in Washington on the latest emergency spending package.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite finished up with a gain of 1 per cent at 11,108.07, its fourth straight all-time high and the first close above 11,000 points.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.7 per cent to end the session at 27,386.98, while the broad-based S&P 500 climbed 0.6 per cent to 3,349.16.

New applications for jobless benefits returned to a downward path after two weeks of increases, hitting a new pandemic low. However, the 1.2 million figure for first-time unemployment applications remains exceptionally high by historic standards.

Meanwhile, talks in Washington on a new emergency spending plan and expanded unemployment payments continued to drag on with Democratic leaders and President Donald Trump’s economic team still far apart.

Despite the stalemate, “people are optimistic that Congress is going to work out something,” said FHN Financial’s Chris Low.

Investors are looking ahead to Friday’s jobs report, which will offer the most comprehensive view of the extent that the spike in US coronavirus cases weighed on hiring. Economists warn the picture could be far worse than in June.

Large tech companies were higher, including Apple, which jumped 3.5 per cent and Facebook, which surged 6.5 per cent on excitement over its launch of Instagram Reels, a competitor to TikTok.

But chip company Western Digital plunged 16.1 per cent on a disappointing outlook, a forecast that also weighed on other semiconductor stocks.