US stocks hover near records as jobless claims hit 5-week low

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  • US stocks hovered near records as investors weigh a dovish tone from the Fed and a stagnating labor market. 
  • US weekly jobless claims fell to a five-week low but dropped less than analysts expected. 
  • The price of bitcoin remains elevated.
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US stocks hovered near record highs Thursday morning as investors weighed a stagnating labor market rebound and dovish tone from the Federal Reserve.

New jobless claims reached an unadjusted 793,000 for the week that ended Saturday, the Labor Department said. That missed economist estimates the foresaw filings totaling 760,000, but was a five-week low. 

The Fed said US unemployment is actually about 10% – nearly double the official rate and matching the worst of the Great Recession. Fed chair Jay Powell said a “a society-wide commitment” was needed to reach full employment.

Investors are also mulling the weaker-than-expected inflation report and dovish comments from the Fed chair.

Official figures on Wednesday showed that core US inflation was flat in January, despite economists expecting a 0.2% increase. Core consumer price index inflation was up 1.4% year on year.

“We think that rebounding cyclical inflation from last year’s depressed levels is to be expected, given the severe depth of the recession in 2020 and the rapid recovery that has been underway since,” said BlackRock’s Rick Rieder.

Here’s where US indexes stood after the 9:30 a.m. ET open on Thursday:

  • S&P 500: 3,919.32, up 0.24%
  • Dow Jones industrial average: 31,469.34, up 0.10% (tk points)
  • Nasdaq composite: 14,051.51, up 0.56%

Read more: Cathie Wood and her analysts discuss why Tesla’s $1.5 billion bitcoin purchase could trigger a wave of corporate investments, the fallout of the GameStop-AMC phenomenon, and their bullish views on the Chinese stock behind Clubhouse

Walt Disney, PepsiCo, and Kraft Heinz are among the big names reporting earnings today.

Mastercard will begin allowing customers to use some cryptocurrencies on its network later this year, joining a handful of corporates that have embraced digital tokens.

The price of bitcoin rose by as much as 6% on Thursday after Elon Musk posted a vague tweet with a reference to dogecoin and an image of a crypto-themed ring. The cryptocurrency traded just under $47,900 Thursday morning. 

Oil prices were lower. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.14%, to $58.59 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, was down 0.1%, to $61.41 per barrel, at intraday highs.

Gold rose 0.54%, to $1,843.70 per ounce.

Read more: Dealmaking on Wall Street is set to explode in 2021. A short-seller who targets bad M&A told us 4 ways investors can identify mergers that are going to hurt shareholders.

 

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