After moving significantly higher early in the session, stocks have seen some further upside over the course of the trading day on Thursday. With the upward move on the day, the tech-heavy Nasdaq has turned positive for 2020.
Currently, the major averages are hovering near their best levels of the day. The Dow is up 360.72 points or 1.5 percent at 24,025.36, the Nasdaq is up 141.49 points or 1.6 percent at 8,995.88 and the S&P 500 is up 47.85 points or 1.7 percent at 2,896.27.
The strength on Wall Street comes amid continued optimism about the U.S. economy at least partially reopening in the near future.
News that a coronavirus vaccine being developed by Moderna (MRNA) has been given FDA approval for a phase 2 trial has added to the positive sentiment.
Traders are also digesting data from the Labor Department showing a continued decrease in the number of new claims for unemployment benefits.
The report said initial jobless claims dropped to 3.169 million, a decrease of 677,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 3.846 million.
Jobless claims have declined steadily since hitting a record high of 6.867 million in the week ended March 28th, although the total number of new claims since the coronavirus-induced shutdown has now reached 33.5 million.
On Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its more closely watched report on the employment situation in the month of April.
Employment is expected to plunge by approximately 22 million jobs in April, driving the unemployment rate up to 14.0 percent.
Financial stocks continue to turn in some of the market’s best performances on the day, with the NYSE Arca Broker/Dealer Index and the KBW Bank Index jumping by 4.8 percent and 4 percent, respectively.
Substantial strength also remains visible visible among energy stocks, which are moving higher along with the price of crude oil. Crude for June delivery is jumping $1.12 to $25.11 a barrel.
Reflecting the strength in the energy sector, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index is up by 5.2 percent, the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index is up by 3.5 percent and the NYSE Arca Oil Index is up by 3.3 percent.
Transportation stocks have also shown a significant move back to the upside on the day, driving the Dow Jones Transportation Average up by 2.5 percent.
Steel, chemical, computer hardware and gold stocks are also seeing notable strength, reflecting broad based buying interest on Wall Street.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.3 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid by 0.7 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets all showed strong moves upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index surged up by 1.5 percent, the German DAX Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index both jumped by 1.4 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries have moved notably higher following the drop seen in the previous session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 7 basis points at 0.641 percent.
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