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Stocks Moving Higher Despite Disappointing Jobs Data - U.S. Commentary

Stocks have shown a strong move to the upside in early trading on Thursday, as traders shrug off some disappointing jobs data. The major averages have climbed firmly into positive territory, adding to the strong gains posted in the previous session.

The major averages are currently posting notable gains, near their highs for the young session. The Dow is up 82.88 points or 0.7 percent at 12,888.27, the Nasdaq is up 19.76 points or 0.7 percent at 3,036.11 and the S&P 500 is up 9.19 points or 0.7 percent at 1,377.90.

The early strength on Wall Street comes in spite of the release of a report from the Labor Department showing a notable increase in initial jobless claims in the week ended April 7th.

The report showed that initial jobless claims rose to 380,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 367,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to edge up to 359,000 from the 357,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Positive sentiment may have been generated by a Commerce Department report showing a significantly narrower than expected U.S. trade deficit in February, with the data suggesting that trade wasn't as big of a drag on first quarter GDP growth as previously anticipated.

The report showed that the trade deficit narrowed to $46.0 billion in February from $52.5 billion in January. Economists had been expected a trade deficit of about $51.7 billion.

A separate report from the Labor Department showed that producer prices unexpectedly came in unchanged in March amid a drop in energy prices.

The Labor Department said its producer price index was flat in March following a 0.4 percent increase in February. Economists had been expecting the index to increase by 0.3 percent.

Excluding food and energy prices, the core producer price index rose by 0.3 percent in March after edging up by 0.2 percent in February. The core index had been expected to increase by 0.2 percent.

Steel stocks have shown a substantial upward move in early trading, driving the NYSE Arca Steel Index up by 3.4 percent. With the gain, the index is climbing further off the three-month closing low that it set on Tuesday.

Considerable strength is also visible among gold stocks, which are moving higher along with the price of the precious metal. Oil service, health insurance, and transportation stocks are also posting strong gains amid broad based buying interest.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher on Thursday, benefiting from the overnight rebound on Wall Street. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.7 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended the day up by 0.9 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day amid some volatility. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.6 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index are up by 0.5 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries have turned lower over the course of the session after seeing early strength. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by less than a basis point at 2.033 percent after hitting a low of 2.012 percent.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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