Stocks: The Dow is on a roll

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The Dow is on a roll.

After reaching a record high Tuesday, the Dow gained more ground Wednesday, rising another 0.3% to end at a new high of 14,296.39.

U.S. stock futures crept higher ahead of the open Thursday, setting the stage for yet another record-setting day for the Dow.

The recent rally has been driven by a series of strong economic reports, particularly related to the job market and manufacturing, said Marc Chandler, strategist for Brown Brothers Harriman.

The U.S. economy has proven itself "fairly resistant to the fiscal cliff and the sequester," he said.

Ahead of Thursday's open, the Department of Labor reported that initial jobless claims fell to 340,000 last week, down from an upwardly revised tally of 347,000 the prior week. That was better than the 350,000 forecast economists had expected.

Investors are gearing up for Friday's all-important monthly government jobs report on Friday. Economists surveyed by CNNMoney expect a gain of 175,000 jobs in February.

Related: Actually, the real Dow is still 11% below its record high

Meanwhile, earnings season is winding down with a smattering of companies still reporting.

SolarCity (SCTY) shares sank 8% in premarket trading after the company missed earnings estimates. Online music streaming firm Pandora Media (P) reports after the market close.

In other corporate news, Time Warner Inc (TWX), which owns CNNMoney, announced plans late Wednesday to spin off its Time Inc. magazine business into a separate publicly traded company. The stock notched up 1.4% in premakret trading.

Related: Fear & Greed Index sitting in greed

European markets edged higher in midday trading after the European Central Bank and the Bank of England announced they would keep their rates unchanged. Both moves were widely expected by analysts.

Asian markets ended mixed. The Shanghai Composite lost 1.0%, the Hang Seng was flat and Japan's Nikkei rose 0.3%.

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