(CNBC)U.S. stocks closed higher on Thursday, the last trading day of the month, as Wall Street ended August on a high note. Investors also digested a broad swath of economic data ahead of a key employment report.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 55.67 points to close at 21,948.10, with UnitedHealth contributing the most to the gains. The S&P 500 gained 0.57 percent to end at 2,471.57, with health care leading nine sectors higher. The Nasdaq composite advanced 0.95 percent to 6,428.66, a record close.