Boeing shares surged Thursday after Ryanair confirmed a major order of Boeing 737 MAX jets while global stocks treaded water on mixed economic data.

The deal for 75 planes by the Irish low-cost carrier was the first major order for the 737 MAX since the aircraft was grounded for 20 months following two fatal crashes.

The news, along with a successful test flight by American Airlines, help send shares in Boeing higher as the aircraft moves closer to returning to the skies after winning approval by US regulators last month.

Shares in Boeing jumped 6.0 percent, helping to lift the Dow on a mixed day for US equities.

While the tech-rich Nasdaq edged to a fresh record, the broad-based S&P 500 finished lower.

European equities were also mixed, with London advancing and Paris and Frankfurt both pulling back.

Data provider IHS Markit said its closely-watched composite eurozone purchasing managers' index (PMI) fell to 45.3 points in November from 50 in October, according to final estimates.

Investors digested data showing slower growth in the US services sector in November and better-than-expected new unemployment claims ahead of Friday's closely-watched Labor Department jobs report.

Markets have also monitored ongoing stimulus talks on Capitol Hill that have lifted hopes of a new spending package before the end of the year.

"In general, the market is acting rationally in looking ahead to the other side of this," Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities, said of the market's strength.

But Hogan cautioned that stocks could be pressured later this month if rising US coronavirus cases stress hospital capacity, resulting in further business shutdowns.

"The narrative about how the market is feeling optimistic about 2021 recovery prospects because of the arrival of Covid vaccines is growing a bit tired, yet market participants have been given a stimulant with the increased buzz on Capitol Hill about the need to get another stimulus package done soon," said market analyst Patrick J. O'Hare at

Elsewhere, oil prices advanced as members of the OPEC group of oil producers struck a deal to increase production over coming months, but by less than anticipated in their previous accord.

Starting in January 2021, producers will pump 500,000 more barrels per day. The previous agreement entailed a cut of 7.7 million barrels per day (bpd) and had been scheduled to be eased to 5.8 million bpd on January 1.

Meanwhile the pound surged to its highest level in a year, briefly rising above $1.35, after a government official expressed confidence on reaching a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU.

Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Pelosi has welcomed a bipartisan stimulus proposal that investors hope can break a months-long deadlock with Republicans Photo: AFP / Nicholas Kamm

New York - Dow: UP 0.3 percent at 29,969.52 (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.1 percent at 3,666.72 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.2 percent at 12,377.18 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.4 percent at 6,490.27 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.5 percent at 13,252.86 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.2 percent at 5,574.36 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.1 percent at 3,517.10 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: FLAT at 26,809.37 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.7 percent at 26,728.50 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.2 percent at 3,442.14 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.2147 from $1.2115 at 2200 GMT

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3453 from $1.3365

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 103.84 yen from 104.42 yen

Euro/pound: DOWN at 90.28 pence from 90.65 pence

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.8 percent at $45.64 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.0 percent at $48.71 per barrel

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