U.S. Stocks Edge Higher

U.S. stocks edged higher in early trading on Thursday as better than expected data from the labor market emboldened the market sentiment.

At last check, the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index gained 0.30%; the NASDAQ Composite Index advanced 0.37% while the S&P 500 Index edged up 0.35%.

The numbers of jobless Americans filing for first time claims unexpectedly fell for the week ended March 9, according to the Labor Department. The data showed that initial claims dropped by 10,000 to seasonally adjusted 332,000 while economists polled by Reuters were expecting jobless claims rising to 350,000. The data substantiates claims that the U.S. economy, especially the labor market is improving.

The four week moving average for initial jobless claims has now dropped by 2,750 to 346,750, which is a lowest level in last five years, according to Reuters.

In a separate data also provided by the Labor Department, the Producer Price index (PPI) rose 0.7% in February compared to 0.2% increase in January. The rise in PPI was in-line with economists’ forecast.

A data provided by the Commerce Department showed that current account deficit stood at $110.4 billion in the fourth quarter. Economists were expecting the trade deficit to widen to widen to $112.8 billion from $107.5 billion in the third quarter.

Shares of Research in Motion (NASDAQ: BBRY), which will soon change its official name to Blackberry, gained about 1% in premarket trading.  On Wednesday shares of the smartphone maker rallied after the company announced that it has received an order for 1 million Blackberry units from an “established partner”.

In some other markets, crude oil futures slipped 0.11% to $92.42 a barrel while U.S. gold futures edge down 0.47% to $1,587.00 an ounce.

Elsewhere in Europe, all leading benchmark indexes traded strongly higher. The Pan European Stoxx 600 Index was up 0.69%, at last check.




Ed Liston is a senior contributing editor at TheStockMarketWatch.com. An active market watcher and investor, Ed guides an independent team of experienced analysts and writes for multiple stock trader publications. He is widely quoted in various financial publications on the Internet. When Ed is not writing about stocks, investing in stocks, talking about stocks, or otherwise doing something stock related, he likes to go sailing and fishing in his yacht.