Wall Street posted gains following a report from the Labor Department that initial jobless claims fell last week sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.37 percent to 17,763.24 and the S&P 500 up 0.35 percent to 2,066.96 while the Nasdaq gained 0.14 percent to close the day at 4,886.94. The WWD Global Stock Tracker rose 0.49 percent to 115.70.

Of the 100 components of the WWD composite, 67 were gainers and 30 issues declined while three were unchanged.

Earlier in the day the Labor Department said initial claims for unemployment fell by 20,000 for the week ended March 28. Initial claims are at the lowest level since January, and the report surprised analysts and investors alike. The data suggests that the labor market is gaining more strength. Wall Street’s reaction is surprising given that a robust employment report last month sent investors scurrying. The concern was that a strong labor market coupled with rising inflation would trigger the Federal Reserve to raise rates sooner than later.

Given today’s reaction by investors, analysts said the thinking is that rates will not increase until later in the year regardless of economic trends. Tomorrow, the Labor Department is set to release payroll and employment data.