- Dow, S&P 500
reach new intraday records
- Jobless claims, ISM services and trade balance miss forecasts
- Markets awaiting non-farm payrolls
Dow Jones: 0.11%
S&P 500: 0.07%
US stocks opened with small gains on Thursday, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average to an intraday record despite slightly worse-than-expected economic data.
Sentiment was also helped by a decent performance by markets in Europe after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi revealed that policy makers had discussed the possibility of quantitative easing at this month's meeting.
The three major US indices were trading just 0.1% higher in early trading, though the Dow rose to hit 16,589.19 just after the 'opening bell' - an all-time high.
The S&P 500, meanwhile, was extending gains into the fifth straight day after reaching another record of 1,890.90 on Wednesday. The index hit a new high of 1,893.80 today.
Initial weekly jobless claims rose by 16,000 to 326,000 in the week ending March 29th, compared with a revised 310,000 the week before. Analysts had expected a smaller increase to 317,000.
Analyst Cooper Howes from Barclays said that despite the increase the four-week moving average was little changed at 320,000. Meanwhile, seasonal factor revisions to historical data also showed a "smoother trend". He said: "Overall, this report is consistent with our view that the separations side of the labour market has continued to improve since the end of the recession."
The ISM non-manufacturing index rose from 51.6 to 53.1 in March, below the forecast of 53.5.
Meanwhile, there was an unexpected increase in the trade deficit to $42.3bn in February, from a revised $39.3bn the month before. The consensus estimate was for a narrower trade gap of $38.5bn.
Stocks rose the previous session after figures from ADP showed that private-sector payrolls increased by 191,000 in March, close to analysts' expectations.
This showed that the weather-induced volatility, seen by poor readings earlier in the year, has begun to subside, bolstering expectations for tomorrow's official non-farm payrolls report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Apple falls amid M&A reports
Gadget giant Apple fell on reports it is in talks to buy a unit of Japanese chipmaker Renesas Electronics in an effort to bring smartphone display technology in-house. According to Nikkei, Renesas could sell its stake in the joint venture, SP Drivers division, for around 50bn yen ($479m).
Tesla rose after the electric car maker said it would appeal a decision in New Jersey to ban sales directly to consumers.
West Texas Intermediate crude futures slipped by 0.17% to $99.45 a barrel on the NYMEX.
The yield on a benchmark 10-year US Treasury was down one basis point at 2.80%.