LONDON (AP) — The mood in financial markets remained fairly buoyant Thursday after an improvement in weekly jobless claims figures in the U.S. and as the main Wall Street stock indexes eyed new highs.

On Wednesday, both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones hit all-time closing highs, giving a positive tone to trading in Asia and Europe.

A 42,000 drop in weekly U.S. jobless claims to 346,000 maintained the mood as U.S. trading got underway again. The surprisingly big fall came after a run of disappointing jobs figures that had raised concerns over the pace of the U.S. economic recovery.

Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, said the weekly fall suggests the "generally improving trend in the job market is continuing."

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