U.S. Stocks Close On Firm Note On Strong Jobless Claims Data

U.S. stocks snapped a three-day losing streak and closed higher on Thursday, buoyed by data showing a drop in jobless claims last week.

Technology stocks posted strong gains, contributing significantly to market’s strong close.

Bitcoin’s rebound after a terrible setback in the previous session aided sentiment. A few encouraging earnings announcements helped as well.

The major averages all closed notably higher. The Dow came off day’s high of 34,233.40, but still closed with a fairly decent gain of 188.11 points or 0.55 percent at 34,084.15. The S&P 500 ended up by 43.44 points or 1.06 percent at 4,159.12, while the Nasdaq settled at 13,535.74, gaining 236 points or 1.77 percent.

Data released by the Labor Department showed unemployment claims in the U.S. fell to 444,000 last week (the lowest since the week ended March 14, when it had dropped to 256,000), down from a revised 478,000 claims in the previous week. Economists had expected unemployment claims to drop to around 450,000 in the week ending May 15th.

The Labor Department’s data also showed that the number of continuing claims unexpectedly rose by 111,000 last week to 3.75 million, hitting a seven-week high.

The four-week moving average of US jobless claims, which removes week-to-week volatility, dropped to a fourteen-month low of 504,750 in the week, down from a revised 535,250 in the previous week.

The Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index fell to 31.5 in May from 50.2 in April which was the strongest reading in nearly 50 years. Figures also came below forecasts of 43. The index of business conditions fell sharply to 52.7 in April, from 66.6.

Apple, Home Depot, Boeing, Salesforce.Com, Amgen, Microsoft, Walt Disney, Intel and Procter & Gamble gained 1 to 2.1 percent. Tesla shares gained more than 4%.

Shares of Kohl’s Corporation (KSS) tumbled more than 10 percent despite the company reporting a strong surge in sales in the first quarter. The company reported a first-quarter net income of $14 million or $0.09 per share, compared to a net loss of $541 million or $3.52 per share in the prior-year quarter.

The company also raised its earnings guidance for the full-year 2021 to $3.80 to $4.20 per share, up from a previous guidance of $2.45 to $2.95 per share. share last year.

In overseas trading, Asian stocks ended mixed on Thursday after the FOMC meeting minutes suggested the U.S. central bank has begun debating whether to normalize monetary policy. Chinese shares closed flat as the country’s central bank kept its benchmark lending rates unchanged, as widely expected.

European markets closed on a strong note, rebounding well after a sell-off in the previous session, as some upbeat earnings and optimism about global economic recovery helped offset inflation worries and fears about monetary easing.

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