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Wall Street ends three-day losing streak, unemployment claims rise

JaysonPhotography/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Wall Street put a stop to its three-day losing streak with small gains on Thursday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 2.46, closing the day at 20,858.19.

The Nasdaq climbed 1.26 to a finish of 5,838.81, and the S&P 500 ended the session at 2,364.87, gaining 1.89.

The White House is working to keep the government from an unprecedented default on the national debt. A suspension of the debt limit expires on March 16.

The number of people who filed for unemployment benefits rose by about 20,000 last week. Economists say that number indicates steady hiring and a drop in layoffs.

The Federal Reserve says that Americans' stock and mutual fund portfolios gained more than $700 billion in the last three months of last year. Home values in that same period rose by more than half a trillion dollars. Still, not every American benefits from such numbers -- the richest ten percent of Americans own 80 percent of the stock market, and younger Americans are less likely to be homeowners.

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