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US open: Stocks mostly higher on first day of Q3 trading

Wall Street stocks were mostly in the green early on Thursday amid a flurry of data points.
As of 1525 BST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.24% at 34,583.61, while the S&P 500 was 0.28% firmer at 4,309.45 and the Nasdaq Composite came out the gate 0.02% weaker at 14,501.27.

The Dow opened 81.10 points higher on Thursday, extending solid gains recorded in the previous session.

Thursday’s primary focus was this week’s jobless claims figures from the Labor Department, which revealed that first-time jobless claims retreated to their lowest level since March 2020.

According to the Department of Labor, initial unemployment claims fell by 51,000 to 364,000 over the week ending on 26 June. Economists had pencilled-in a reading of 410,000.

Still on the macro front, global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said job cuts announced by US-based employers had tumbled 16.7% to 20,476 in June – their lowest level since June 2000.

Elsewhere, IHS Markit’s US manufacturing PMI said output growth had eased as supply-chain disruptions worsened despite a “marked rise” in client demand. The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index came to 62.1 in June, unchanged on May, but slipping slightly from the earlier flash estimate of 62.6.

Another report showed economic activity in the manufacturing sector grew in June, with the US economy growing for the 13th month in a row, according to the Institute of Supply Management. The ISM’s June Manufacturing PMI came in at 60.6%, a decrease of 0.6% from the May reading of 61.2%, indicating expansion in the overall economy.

Lastly, construction spending during May was estimated to be $1.54trn, according to the Census Bureau, a 0.3% drop month-on-month when compared to the revised April estimate of $1.54trn but 7.5% above the May 2020 estimate of $1.43trn.

In the corporate space, Walgreens Boots posted third-quarter results that exceeded expectations, while McCormick raised its full-year guidance after revenues topped $1.56bn as the firm continued to benefit from at-home cooking.

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