After initially moving in opposite directions, stocks have moved mostly higher over the course of morning trading on Thursday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq initially moved to the downside but has since joined the Dow and S&P 500 in positive territory.
The major averages showed a brief pullback in recent trading but are currently all positive. The Dow is up 142.05 points or 0.4 percent at 34,465.10, the Nasdaq is up 9.52 points or 0.1 percent at 13,747.51 and the S&P 500 is up 10.38 points or 0.3 percent at 4,206.37.
The strength on Wall Street may partly reflect continued optimism about the economy after the Labor Department released a report showing weekly jobless claims once again fell to a new pandemic-era low.
The Labor Department said initial jobless claims slid to 406,000 in the week ended May 22nd, a decrease of 38,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 444,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 425,000.
Jobless claims decreased for the fourth consecutive week, once again falling to their lowest level since hitting 256,000 in the week ended March 14, 2020.
However, traders remain on edge, as the upbeat data has added to recent concerns about the Federal Reserve moving closer to tapering is asset purchases.
Traders are likely to pay close attention to Friday’s reading on inflation said to be preferred by the Fed, which could have a significant impact on the outlook for monetary policy.
Steel stocks have moved sharply higher following news of the first meeting between U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.
A statement from the Chinese Commerce Ministry described the virtual meeting as “candid, pragmatic and constructive” but did not reveal if the discussions included rolling back Trump-era tariffs.
Reflecting the strength in the steel sector, the NYSE Arca Steel Index has surged up by 3 percent, climbing further off the nearly-one month closing low set on Tuesday.
Significant strength has also emerged among networking stocks, as reflected by the 1.6 percent advance by the NYSE Arca Networking Index. The index has reached its best intraday level in over three months.
Oil service, banking, and telecom stocks are also seeing notable strength on the day, while most of the other major sectors are showing more modest moves.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.3 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose by 0.4 percent.
Meanwhile, European stocks have moved mostly higher on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has advanced by 0.9 percent, the German DAX Index has inched up by 0.1 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is nearly unchanged.
In the bond market, treasuries are seeing further downside after ending the previous session slightly lower. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 4.4 basis points at 1.618 percent.
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