NEW YORK (MarketWatch) â" U.S. stock futures tallied mild gains Thursday after weekly jobless-claims data came in better than anticipated as the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 target April highs.
The governmentâs count of those filing new applications for unemployment benefits declined by 17,000 last week to 421,000, better than the 425,000 expected by analysts polled by MarketWatch. Read more about jobless claims.
âWeâre going in the right direction. Itâs very important to look at the trend and not at a single point of time, and the trend is improving,â said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Jefferies & Co., who pointed to the four-week average of new claims, which fell 4,000 to 427,500.
âComing into today, the four-week average was 431,500, and last year the number was 497,000,â he said.
Up 32 points before the claims data, futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were lately up 48 points to 11,415, while those for the S&P 500 rose 6.3 points to 1,235.
Futures for the Nasdaq 100 index rose 10.75 points to 2,211.25.
U.S. stocks closed slightly higher Wednesday, in a late turnaround owing to a rally in financial stocks and hopes for the effect of tax cuts.
That helped ease worries about a selloff in government bonds.
Citigroup Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!c/quotes/nls/c (C 4.65, +0.01, +0.22%) Â and half a dozen other banks are being targeted by Irving Picard, the trustee in charge of recouping funds for Bernard Madoffâs victims. On Wednesday, Picard filed a suit seeking more than $1 billion.
Shares of Lululemon Athletica Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!lulu/quotes/nls/lulu (LULU 66.15, +10.45, +18.76%) Â added 10% in premarket trading. The athletic-apparel retailer reported fiscal third-quarter profit rose to 36 cents a share from 20 cents a share in the year-earlier period.
Stocks in Europe were mostly higher Thursday, helped by gains for ASML Holding /quotes/comstock/15*!asml/quotes/nls/asml (ASML 37.42, +2.25, +6.39%) Â and other chip-related stocks, along with financial stocks. Auto stocks were weak, helping to drag the German DAX index into the red. See Europe Markets.
Asia had a mixed session, with a sharp selloff for the India Sensex. Investors worried that the U.S. dollar would strengthen and about damped fund inflows tied to forecasts for a stronger rupee. See Asia Markets.
Seoul stocks finished at a three-year high after the Bank of Korea left interest rates unchanged, while Sydney shares hit a four-week high on a strong jobs report.
Gold futures rose $5.60 to $1,388.8 an ounce, while crude-oil futures gained 58 cents to $88.86 a barrel as the dollar pulled back a bit against major rivals.
Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York. Barbara Kollmeyer is an editor for MarketWatch in Madrid.Powered By iWebRSS.com