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Wall Street makes mostly positive start despite rise in jobless claims

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The main indices on Wall Street have made a mixed but mostly positive start to Thursday’s session despite a higher than expected rise in US jobless claims.

Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.07% at 33,422 while the S&P 500 rose 0.32% to 4,093 and the Nasdaq climbed 0.92% to 13,815.

Sentiment may have wobbled a little following data that showed 744,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, up from the previous week’s figure of 728,000 and higher than analysts had predicted.

Despite the increase, analysts said the figure may be attributed to backlogs in filing past claims and that the trend was still pointing downwards, with Pantheon Macroeconomics expecting “a sustained sharp decline in the second quarter” as the US economy began to reopen.

8:00am: Wall Street expected to start mostly higher

Wall Street futures are pointing to a mostly positive start for US markets on Thursday morning.

The Nasdaq Composite is forecast to open 0.89% higher, the S&P 500 up 0.34% but the Dow virtually flat. On Wednesday the Dow and S&P were positive, the Nasdaq marginally negative.

Sophie Griffiths market analyst at OANDA said: “Looking ahead, US futures are pointing to a mildly upbeat start, heading towards fresh record highs as the Fed sticks to stimulus. The tech-heavy Nasdaq is set to outperform its peers, boosted by a fall in US treasury yields and the prospect of ultra-low interest rates for longer. We continue to see further signs the rotation trade out of growth and into value has run out of steam for now.”

Later come US weekly jobless claims. Griffiths said: “The US labour market has been in focus over the past week following blowout non-farm payroll figures and better than expected JOLTS job openings. Initial jobless claims are expected to show 68,000 in the week ending 2 April, down from 719,000. A strong report could boost optimism surrounding US economic recovery and lift the greenback out of the red.”

That would be interesting in the light of the doveish comments from the US Federal Reserve, which continues to believe it is necessary to keep the monetary taps flowing to support the US economy despite the signs of recovery and worries about inflation.

Three things to watch for on Thursday:

  • Companies reporting earnings today include Corona beer owner Constellation Brands Inc (NYSE:STZ), ready meals maker Conagra Brands Inc (NYSE:CAG) and jeans retailer Levi Strauss & Co (NYSE:LEVI)
  • Bitcoin may draw some eyes after the tech billionaire co-founder of PayPal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL) warned the cryptocurrency could be used as a “financial weapon” by China against the US dollar
  • Amazon Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) could also hold investor attention as the ecommerce firm awaits the result of a closely-watched vote by workers at its warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, to form a union

Story by ProactiveInvestors


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