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Dow nears 40,000 as stocks look to close out first quarter on a high note

New York CNN  —  The Dow closed in on a new high, nearing the threshold level of 40,000 at market open on Thursday. The S&P 500, meanwhile, is poised to notch its best start to a year since 2019 and the Nasdaq is also heading toward a strong month and quarter. Thursday marks the final day of trading for the first quarter of 2024, and all three major indexes are set to close higher marking their fifth consecutive month of gains. The S&P 500 was flat on Thursday morning. The Dow gained 80 points, or 0.2% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq was 0.3% lower. Tech stocks like Nvidia and the AI-craze have helped drive stocks higher in the first quarter. Shares of the chipmaker have surged more than 80% during the first three months of the year. Also fueling the market boom has been a potential pivot by the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates. About 65% of investors now think a rate cut will occur in June, according to the CME FedWatch tool. US markets will be closed on Friday for the Good Friday holiday.