In pushing up stocks, equity investors shrugged off negative developments in European bond markets. Spain's 10-year yield climbed back above 7 percent on Thursday. In contrast, German two-year yields were below zero for a tenth day and the French five-year yield hit a record low of 0.728 percent.
Stock markets also shrugged off weak economic data on Thursday.
In the US, existing home sales fell 5.4 percent in June. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s general economic index was minus 12.9 in July after minus 16.6 the month before. The Conference Board's leading economic index fell 0.3 percent in June. Initial claims for jobless benefits increased by 34,000 to 386,000 last week.
In the UK, retail sales rose just 0.1 percent in June.