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August Trading on Wall Street Begins with Record Highs

Ben Hider/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 stock indices began the month of August with fresh record highs on Thursday.

The Dow closed up 128 points to finish the session at 15,628.02. Year-to-date, the Dow is now up 19.26 percent.

The S&P 500 – a broader measure of the market – ended the session above 1,700 for the first time ever. The index closed up 21.14 points to 1,706.87. Year-to-date the S&P is up 19.68 percent.

The Nasdaq Composite also closed with sharp gains, up 49 points at 3,675.74. Year-to-date, the tech-heavy Nasdaq is up nearly 22 percent.

Markets cheered upbeat reports on the economy Thursday. Weekly jobless claims fell to a 5 ½ year low and the U.S. manufacturing sector got stronger in July – now sitting at its best level in almost two years.

All of this as investors look ahead to Friday's all-important jobs report.

Meanwhile, Sprout Farmers Market began trading on the Nasdaq Thursday, and on its first day of trading, the organic food market based in Phoenix closed up 122 percent. The stock’s IPO price was $18 a share. It closed at $40.11.

Sprout operates 160 stores in eight states. It is a specialty retailer of fresh, natural and organic foods plus fresh produce, bulk foods, packaged groceries, meat and seafood, baked goods, dairy products, natural body care and household items.

Facebook again traded above its IPO price of $38 a share during the day, but couldn’t close above $38. It finished the session at $37.49.

And lastly, General Motors and Ford climbed after the U.S. automakers posted July sales that soared, lifted by gains in full-size pickup trucks.

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