* Retail stocks lead the S&P after April sales outlook
* Three of the Dow's five top gainers reach 52-week highs
* Encouraging claims data counters weak payroll report
* PC shares slide after firm says PC sales plummeted in Q1
* Dow up 0.4 pct, S&P 500 up 0.4 pct, Nasdaq up 0.1 pct
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, April 11 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose for a fourth
straight day on Thursday, sending the Dow and the S&P 500 to new
all-time highs on positive jobs market data and forecasts for
stronger retail sales.
Despite the S&P's gains of about 10 percent this year,
investors have been concerned about the pace of recovery,
especially after an unusually weak payrolls report for March.
But on Thursday the Labor Department said first-time claims
for jobless benefits fell far more than expected last week,
dropping to the lower end of the range for the year.
In addition, retail executives and analysts forecast
improved same-store sales in April after March's ho-hum start to
spring due to cold weather.
Three of the S&P 500's five top percentage gainers were
retailers, including Ross Stores up 6.2 percent to
$63.98, L Brands up 5.6 percent at $50.88 and J.C.
Penney Co up 4.6 percent to $14.74. The SPDR S&P retail
ETF jumped 2.3 percent to $73.17 and hit a new all-time
"This data is especially welcome on the heels of last week's
jobs report, and it just adds to the tremendous demand that
there continues to be for equities," said Leo Grohowski, chief
investment officer at BNY Mellon Wealth Management in New York.
"The money that has been waiting for a pullback is running out
Still, gains were limited in the Nasdaq as technology stocks
sold off on an industry report showing shipments of personal
computers had fallen significantly in the first quarter. The S&P
information technology sector index slipped 0.6
Hewlett-Packard Co slumped 7.3 percent to $20.70 as
the S&P's top percentage loser, following by Microsoft Corp
, down 5 percent to $28.76. Microsoft was also hit after
Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock to "sell" from "neutral,"
citing "worsening PC trends and a lack of traction in tablets
Both HP and Microsoft are Dow components, but the index saw
plenty of strength from other members. Three of the blue-chip
average's five biggest gainers - Pfizer Inc, Boeing Co
and Home Depot Inc - all hit new 52-week highs.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 63.17 points,
or 0.43 percent, at 14,865.41. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was up 6.30 points, or 0.40 percent, at 1,594.03. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 1.69 points, or 0.05
percent, at 3,298.94.
The Dow had reached a record intraday high at around 11:21
a.m. in Thursday's session, and extended that to a fresh record
by early afternoon. The S&P 500 quickly followed the Dow's lead
in late morning trading, climbing to an all-time intraday high
of 1,597.35 at around 11:29 a.m.
On Wednesday, both the Dow and the S&P 500 rose more than 1
percent to close at new record highs after three straight days
"It's amazing to me that we're already a few points away
from our mid-year target of 1,600, which had seemed somewhat
aggressive," said Grohowski, who oversees about $179 billion in
client assets. "But there's still skepticism about the market
and tons of cash on the sidelines, which encourages me that the
market can continue to pull higher."
The Dow got its biggest boost from Pfizer, up 2.6
percent at $30.70, off its fresh 52-week high at $30.82, after
JPMorgan raised its target price on the U.S. drugmaker's stock
to $33 from $32.
Shares of Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc surged 57.3
percent to $12.54, off a 52-week high at $12.68, after the
drugmaker said data from an initial late-stage trial would be
sufficient to file for approval for its experimental
antipsychotic drug for Parkinson's disease patients.
Other economic data showed import prices slipped 0.5 percent
last month, in line with expectations, while export prices fell
0.4 percent, signaling inflation pressure remained tepid and
would allow the Federal Reserve to continue with its current