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Stocks Extending Upward Trend As Jobs Report Looms - U.S. Commentary


Stocks are seeing modest strength in morning trading on Thursday, extending the upward trend seen over the past several sessions. With the continued strength, the major averages have once again reached new record intraday highs.

In recent trading, the Dow and the S&P 500 climbed to new highs for the session. The Dow is up 38.52 points or 0.2 percent at 22,700.16, the Nasdaq is up 19.72 points or 0.3 percent at 6,554.35 and the S&P 500 is up 6.37 points or 0.3 percent at 2,544.11.

The continued strength on Wall Street reflects recent upward momentum, with the S&P 500 moving higher for the eighth consecutive session.

Traders seem somewhat reluctant to make more significant moves, however, with the closely watched monthly jobs report looming on Friday.

Employment is expected to rise by 90,000 jobs in September after climbing by 156,000 jobs in August. The unemployment rate is expected to hold at 4.4 percent.

The Labor Department released a report this morning showing first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell by more than expected in the week ended September 30th.

The report said initial jobless claims dropped to 260,000, a decrease of 12,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 272,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 265,000.

A separate report from the Commerce Department showed that the U.S. trade deficit narrowed by more than anticipated in the month of August.

The report said the trade deficit narrowed to $42.4 billion in August from a revised $43.6 billion in July. The trade deficit had been expected to narrow to $42.7 billion.

The Commerce Department also released a report showing factory orders jumped by 1.2 percent in August compared to estimates for an increase of 1.0 percent.

Despite the strength being shown by the broader markets, most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day.

Steel and energy stocks are seeing some strength in morning trading, although buying interest has remained relatively subdued.

In overseas trading, stocks in the Asia-Pacific region turned in a lackluster performance on Thursday, with markets in China, Hong Kong, and South Korea closed for holidays. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index closed marginally higher.

The major European markets are turning in another mixed performance on the day. While the German DAX Index has edged down by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.2 and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.4 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved to the downside after closing roughly flat for two straight sessions. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 2 basis points at 2.350 percent.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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