Stock markets rise on positive US jobless data

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Picture: iStock
Picture: iStock

Stock markets rose on Thursday, buoyed by a strong opening on Wall Street following a drop in jobless claims in the world's biggest economy, traders said.

Stock prices in New York were heading towards new record territory, as investors were cheered by a decline in the number of weekly unemployment claims and the prospect for more positive data on Friday.

The strong showing on Wall Street revitalised a previously sluggish session in Europe, where markets had been mostly in the red earlier in the day.

But by the close of trade, share prices in London, Frankfurt and Paris were all back on a firmer footing.

The US Labor Department reported a seasonally adjusted 340 000 new filings for aid in the week ended August 28, 14 000 fewer than the previous week's upwardly revised level and the lowest since Covid-19 caused millions of layoffs in March 2020.

The report comes ahead of much-anticipated August jobs data on Friday, which analysts will scrutinise for signs of when the US Federal Reserve might begin scaling back its massive stimulus programme.

"The feeling is that another strong report will green light an announcement" on tapering asset purchases at the Fed's September meeting, said analyst Patrick O'Hare.

"In the wake of last week's cautious economic assessment from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, most market watchers aren't expecting the US central bank to announce its taper plans until its November meeting at the earliest," said analyst, Matt Weller.

"Nonetheless, traders will still key in on Friday's big jobs report to see if the labour market is recovering as expected or whether further delays may be in the cards."

Oil prices firmed, having slid the previous day after OPEC and other major producers agreed to lift output as the economy rebounds and demand is expected to pick up.

Earlier in Asia, markets had been mixed, with fresh fears about China's crackdown on tech firms offsetting optimism about the global recovery outlook and easing Covid fears.

Key figures around 1545 GMT

  • New York - Dow: UP 0.4% at 35 458.26 points
  • London - FTSE 100: UP 0.3% at 7 168.55 (close)
  • Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.1% at 15 840.59 (close)
  • Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.06% at 6 763.08 (close)
  • EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.2% at 4 234.24
  • Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.3% at 28 543.51 (close)
  • Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 0.2% at 26 090.43 (close)
  • Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.8% at 3 597.04 (close)
  • Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1858 from $1.1839
  • Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3825 from $1.3770
  • Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.77 pence from 85.98 pence
  • Dollar/yen: FLAT at 110.01 yen
  • West Texas Intermediate: UP 3.3% at $70.52 per barrel
  • Brent North Sea crude: UP 2.5% at $73.39 per barrel
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