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U.S. Stocks Move Moderately Higher On Upbeat Jobless Claims Data

wallstreet sept06 03dec20 lt

Stocks have moved moderately higher in morning trading on Thursday, continuing to rebound from the early weakness seen in the previous session. The advance has lifted the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 to new record intraday highs.

Currently, the major averages are all in positive territory. The Dow is up 174.99 points or 0.6 percent at 30,058.78, the Nasdaq is up 61.31 points or 0.5 percent at 12,410.67 and the S&P 500 is up 11.44 points or 0.3 percent at 3,680.45.

The strength on Wall Street partly reflects a positive reaction to a report from the Labor Department showing a much bigger than expected decrease in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended November 28th.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims dropped to 712,000, a decrease of 75,000 from the previous week's revised level of 787,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 775,000 from the 778,000 originally reported for the previous month.

The weekly jobless claims data has generated some positive sentiment ahead of the release of the Labor Department's more closely watched monthly jobs report on Friday.

Economists expect employment to increase by 481,000 jobs in November after jumping by 638,000 jobs in October. The unemployment rate is expected to edge down to 6.8 percent from 6.9 percent.

Meanwhile, a separate report from the Institute for Supply Management showed the slight pullback in the rate of growth in U.S. service sector activity continued in the month of November.

The ISM said its services PMI edged down to 55.9 in November after dipping to 56.6 in October, although a reading above 50 still indicates growth. Economists had expected the index to slip to 56.0.

Boeing (BA) has helped to lead the Dow higher, with the aerospace giant jumping by 5.3 percent on news Europe's largest airline Ryanair is placing a firm order for 75 additional 737 MAX airplanes

Airline stocks have moved sharply higher in morning trading, with the NYSE Arca Airline Index soaring by 5.3 percent to its best intraday level in over nine months.

Notable strength has also emerged among oil stocks, as reflected by the 1.5 percent gain being posted by the NYSE Arca Oil Index. The strength in the sector comes despite a modest drop by the price of crude oil.

Housing, transportation, and semiconductor stocks are also seeing some strength on the day, while gold stocks have moved to the downside.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index closed just above the unchanged line, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index climbed by 0.7 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets are turning in another mixed performance on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index has risen by 0.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.3 percent and the German DAX Index is down by 0.5 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are regaining ground after trending lower over the past few sessions. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 1.9 basis points at 0.929 percent.

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