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Stocks Move Notably Higher Amid Easing Geopolitical Concerns - U.S. Commentary


After moving to the upside early in the session, stocks continued to turn in a strong performance throughout the trading day on Thursday. The major averages climbed firmly in positive territory, offsetting the weakness seen in the previous session.

The major averages pulled back off their best levels going into the close but still closed notably higher. The Dow jumped 293.60 points or 1.2 percent to 24,483.05, the Nasdaq surged up 71.22 points or 1 percent to 7,140.25 and the S&P 500 climbed 21.80 points or 0.8 percent to 2,663.99.

The strength on Wall Street came as President Donald Trump sought to downplay concerns about an attack on Syria.

"Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!" Trump said in a post on Twitter.

He added, "In any event, the United States, under my Administration, has done a great job of ridding the region of ISIS. Where is our 'Thank you America?'"

In U.S. economic news, the Labor Department released a report showing first time claims for unemployment benefits decreased in the week ended April 7th.

The report said initial jobless claims fell to 233,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 242,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to drop to 230,000.

A separate report released by the Labor Department showed import prices came in unchanged in March, while export prices increased by more than expected.

The Labor Department said import prices recorded no change in March after climbing by 0.3 percent in February. Economists had expected import prices to rise by 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the report said export prices increased by 0.3 percent in March after rising by 0.2 percent in the previous month. Export prices had been expected to rise by 0.2 percent.

Banking stocks saw significant strength on the day, with the KBW Bank Index jumping by 2.2 percent.

Considerable strength was also visible among semiconductor stocks, as reflected by the 1.9 percent gain posted by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index.

Transportation, biotechnology, and computer hardware stocks also saw notable strength, while weakness was visible among gold and utilities stocks.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell by 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index closed just above the unchanged line, the French CAC 40 Index climbed by 0.6 percent and the German DAX Index jumped by 1 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved notably lower amid the strength on Wall Street. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 4.4 basis points at 2.834 percent.

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