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US Stocks Slightly Higher After Fresh Labor-Market Data

US stocks modestly higher, futures contracts flat ahead of the opening. Europe’s Stoxx 600 surges to its tenth consecutive day of gains.

SageFX - Aug, 13, 21

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Principal Points

  • US stocks modestly higher on Thursday, futures contracts virtually flat ahead of the opening
  • Europe’s pan-continental Stoxx 600 surges to its tenth consecutive day of gains on Friday

US stock indexes rose across the board Thursday as traders and investors digested the latest economic report on the labor market front. Initial jobless claims data showed filings for unemployment benefits for the first time fell in the previous week to 375,000, down from 387,000 a week earlier.

The improvement in the indicator, which acts as a proxy for layoffs, marked the third week in a row that new applications had fallen. The data was interpreted as another sign of a healing US economy underpinned by strong job creation, ample monetary stimulus, and bountiful fiscal support from the US government.

The fresh report also suggested the quick spread of the Delta variant across the US did not negatively affect businesses and workers. Despite a continued rise in daily coronavirus cases, investors have preserved their optimism that the growth prospects for the economy remained robust. The seven-day average of confirmed cases on Thursday climbed to more than 125,000 per day.

The S&P500 gained 0.30% to close at a new all-time high of 4,460.83, notching its third straight record close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average pushed higher by 0.04%, also marking a third consecutive fresh closing high at 35,499.85. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite index advanced 0.35%, paring some of the losses accumulated over the previous two days.

Gold Bounces Back

Heightened expectations over the $1tn infrastructure package approved in the Senate earlier in the week are sustaining the buoyant stock market. Investors are hopeful the big-ticket spending would bring more jobs and increased investments in a variety of sectors, ultimately resulting in an overall improvement in the US economy.

Futures contracts tied to the major averages hover right at the flatline, virtually unchanged.

Shifts in the prices of gold have been notable this week. Since the steep 5% drop on Monday, the precious metal has successfully pared the loss this morning by setting a session high of $1,760 per troy ounce. Gold is trading higher for a third straight day.

Bitcoin and a basket of other major cryptocurrencies are trading higher on Friday after a relatively weak session yesterday. The original digital currency erased Thursday’s loss in today’s early hours. Bitcoin is up nearly 4% so far on the day, hovering above $46,000 per coin.

Across the Atlantic, the pan-continental Stoxx 600 index performed well at the start of European equity trading on Friday and pushed above its yesterday’s close, marking a tenth straight day of gains. The broad-market benchmark has been on a tear recently, surging to levels above 475.00. On Thursday, the Stoxx 600 gained over half a percent to register another all-time closing high of 474.84.

Major European bourses ended Thursday action mostly higher with the UK’s FTSE100 the only underdog. Germany’s DAX advanced 0.70%, followed by France’s CAC40, up 0.36%. Spain’s IBEX ended the day marginally higher by 0.04%, while the FTSE100 was negative by 0.37%.

The UK’s benchmark index slipped despite the GDP report release which showed Britain’s economy grew 4.8% in the second quarter, matching market estimates. The figure arrived lower than the Bank of England’s growth projection of 5%.