US stocks pushed higher on Thursday, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq striking a new all-time high ahead of Apple and Amazon results.

Meanwhile the euro surged against the dollar after the European Central Bank chief indicated its pandemic stimulus program likely will end in March, although as expected the ECB held its interest rate and stimulus levels steady.

The Nasdaq and S&P 500 finished with fresh records as a string of healthy corporate earnings reports has provided a crucial boost to trading floors, helping push markets to multi-year or record highs, despite disappointing US growth.

"The market has looked through supply chain challenges and looked at the surge in growth" in demand, said Art Hogan, chief strategist at National Securities.

After markets closed, Amazon reported an earnings miss with its profit dropping, while Apple's revenue missed expectations, though its profit climbed.

Rising stocks came despite government data showing the US economic expansion slowed dramatically in the third quarter to an annual rate of just two percent as consumer spending moderated amid resurgent Covid-19 infections.

That was the slowest rate in over a year and below analyst expectations.

US President Joe Biden announced Thursday a revised $1.75 trillion social spending plan that he is confident Democrats will support after weeks of wrangling, and which could prop up the economy going forward.

Meanwhile, new unemployment claims also came in at another pandemic-era low last week.

Pressure on central banks to tighten monetary policy to curb runaway prices sent equities lower in Asian, with spiking Covid infections acting as a reminder that the pandemic is far from over.

The Bank of Japan held its own easing policy in place Thursday, after the Bank of Canada said it would end its vast bond-buying program and flagged an interest rate hike in 2022, earlier than expected.

Brazil also raised rates Wednesday, mirroring recent moves by South Korea and New Zealand and awaiting expected rate-tightening by the Bank of England and Reserve Bank of Australia.

The Federal Reserve is expected announce it will start to taper its vast bond-buying program at its meeting next week, and could start hiking rates next year.

Meanwhile the ECB's Christine Lagarde indicated she believes its pandemic stimulus program, the PEPP, will indeed end in March as scheduled.

The euro popped to its highest level of the month against the dollar.

Concerns over renewed US-China tensions were also in play Thursday, after Washington's decision this week by to ban China Telecom from operating in the United States due to national security concerns.

Investors are keeping an eye on the European Central Bank's meeting later in the day, hoping for clarity on its plans for monetary policy in light of surging inflation Investors are keeping an eye on the European Central Bank's meeting later in the day, hoping for clarity on its plans for monetary policy in light of surging inflation Photo: AFP / Armando BABANI

Beijing labeled the move "malicious suppression," and warned the development would damage a tentative thaw in relations.

Elsewhere Thursday, oil prices extended losses following data showing a big gain in US inventories of crude and fuel. The figures eased concerns about a supply crunch and surging demand.

New York - Dow: UP 0.7 percent at 35,730.48 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 1.0 percent at 4,596.42 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 1.4 percent at 15,448.12 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.3 percent at 4,233.87 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN less than 0.1 percent at 7,249.47 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX: DOWN less than 0.1 percent at 15,696.33 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.8 percent at 6,804.22 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 1.0 percent at 28,820.09 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.3 percent at 25,555.73 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 1.2 percent at 3,518.42 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1682 from $1.1602 at 2035 GMT

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3792 from $1.3738

Euro/pound: UP at 84.69 pence from 84.44 pence

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 113.57 from 113.82 yen

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.1 percent at $84.51 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.6 percent at $83.14 per barrel