While buying interest has remained subdued, stocks have moved modestly higher over the course of morning trading on Thursday. The major averages have climbed a little more firmly into positive territory, extending a recent upward move.
The modest strength on Wall Street comes on the heels of the release of some relatively upbeat U.S. economic data, including a report from the Labor Department showing an unexpected drop in weekly jobless claims.
The report showed that initial jobless claims fell to 361,000 in the week ended August 4th from the previous week's revised figure of 367,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to edge up to 367,000 from the 365,000 originally reported for the previous week.
A separate report from the Commerce Department showed that the U.S. trade deficit narrowed to $42.9 billion in June from $48.0 billion in May. The trade deficit had been expected to narrow to $47.5 billion.
Oil service stocks have shown a notable move to the upside on the day, driving the Philadelphia Oil Service Index up by 1.7 percent to a three-month high. The strength among oil service stocks comes as crude for September delivery is climbing $0.73 to $94.08 a barrel.
Considerable strength is also visible among brokerage stocks, as reflected by the 1.4 percent gain being posted by the NYSE Arca Broker/Dealer Index. E*Trade (ETFC) is leading the sector higher, surging up by 6.5 percent on news that CEO Steven Freiberg has left the company.
Housing, networking, steel, and gold stocks are also posting notable gains in late morning trading, moving higher along with most of the major sectors.
The major averages have pulled back off their highs for the session in the past few minutes but are holding on to modest gains. The Dow is up 14.75 points or 0.1 percent at 13,190.39, the Nasdaq is up 9.92 points or 0.3 percent at 3,021.17 and the S&P 500 is up 3.08 points or 0.2 percent at 1,405.30.
by RTT Staff Writer
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