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US open: Stocks in the green despite weaker-than-expected jobless numbers

(Sharecast News) – Wall Street stocks opened higher on Thursday as market participants awaited details on president-elect Joe Biden’s planned economic stimulus package and thumbed over this week’s jobless claims data.
As of 1540 GMT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.35% higher at 31,169.57, while the S&P 500 was 0.23% firmer at 3,818.67 and the Nasdaq Composite started out the session 0.57% stronger at 31,203.47.

The Dow opened 109.10 points higher on Thursday, more than erasing yesterday’s minor loss that cane after the House of Representatives voted to impeach Donald Trump for a second time.

Thursday’s main focus was this week’s worse-than-expected jobless claims report from the Labor Department, which revealed the number of Americans filing for unemployment surged at the start of 2021. In seasonally adjusted terms, initial unemployment claims soared by 181,000 over the week ending on 9 January to reach 965,000. Economists had been expecting a dip from 787,000 to 775,000

In addition to the jobless data, Biden was expected to unveil his stimulus plan later in the day, one that will include a boost to the recent $600 direct payments, an extension of increased unemployment insurance and support for state and local governments in a package rumoured to be as big as $2.0trn.

The benchmark 10-year note yield slipped to 1.09% on Thursday a day after hitting a high of 1.18%.

Also in focus, trial data from yesterday revealed that Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose Covid-19 vaccine was both safe and capable of generating a beneficial immune response.

On the macro front, the cost of goods purchases overseas rose at nearly twice the expected pace at the end of 2020, driven by higher fuel prices. According to the Department of Labor, the US import price index increased at a 0.9% month-on-month pace, pushing the year-on-year rate of decline up to -0.3%.

Economists had forecast a 0.5% rise versus November and an annual rate of fall of -0.8%.

Elsewhere, the Federal Reserve’s Jerome Powell, Raphael Bostic and Robert Kaplan will all deliver comments throughout the course of the day.

In the corporate space, Delta Air Lines said it halved its cash burn and narrowed its fourth-quarter losses amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, while BlackRock said assets surged to a record $8.6trn.

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