US open: Stocks mixed following jobless claims data
Wall Street trading started off with mixed results on Thursday after the S&P 500 hit another record close in the previous session and a sharper than expected increase in weekly jobless claims made little impact on major indices.
As of 1540 BST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.11% at 33,410.84, while the S&P 500 was 0.23% firmer at 4,089.45 and the Nasdaq Composite started out the session 0.67% stronger at 13,780.72.
The Dow Jones opened 35.42 points lower on Thursday, reversing modest gains recorded yesterday as investors digested minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's latest meeting.
The FOMC meeting minutes, which outlined plans to maintain the pace of asset purchases for some time as the central bank helps to support stable prices and maximum employment, remained in focus on Thursday, as did President Joe Biden's $2.0trn infrastructure plan that includes a corporate tax rate hike to 28%.
Biden, who indicated on Wednesday that he was willing to negotiate on the proposed increase, views the hike as a key source of revenue for the White House's infrastructure plan. However, Republicans, claim to be concerned about tax increases as the US begins to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic.
On the macro front, initial jobless claims rose more than expected in the week ended 3 March despite signs of healing elsewhere in the jobs market. According to the Labor Department, first-time claims came to 744,000, well above expectations for a print of 694,000 and an increase of 16,000 on the prior week's upwardly revised reading of 728,000.
While the four-week moving average also edged higher, hitting 723,750 last week, continuing claims did provide some positive news, with the weekly total dropping by 16,000 to 3.73m - the lowest level for continuing claims since 21 March 2020.
Still to come, Fed chairman Jerome Powell will deliver a speech at 1800 BST.
In the corporate space, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Alphabet shares all traded roughly 1% higher, while reopening plays like Royal Caribbean, Delta and American Airlines were all in the red.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury note also continued to retreat on Thursday, down at around 1.64% in early trading.
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