U.S. Stocks Edge Higher in Early Trading, Dow Jones Extend its All-Time-High Level

U.S. stocks edged higher in early trading as the market sentiment, which was already riding high after last session’s rally when Dow Jones hit its all-time-high, received further boost from unexpectedly strong ADP job report.

At last check, the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index gained 0.42%; the NASDAQ Composite Index added 0.13% while the S&P 500 Index edged up 0.32%.

On the U.S. economic data front, a data provided by Moody’s Analytics/ Automatic Data Processing (ADP) showed that the private sector added more jobs than expected in February. The data showed that 198,000 jobs were created in February against economists’ expectation for 169,000.

Shares of Staples Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS) fell about 3.25% during early trade after the office supplies chain reported that profits plunged 74% in the fiscal fourth quarter. Although adjusted earnings barely beat Street’s forecast, revenue fell short of analysts’ expectation. The Company also provided a downbeat outlook on the current fiscal, citing weakness in consumer discretionary spending in the North American region and macroeconomic fragility in the euro zone.

Shares of gun maker, Smith & Wesson Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: SWHC) slumped nearly 5.50% despite the company posting better than expected fiscal third-quarter results. Both earnings and revenue topped Street’s estimates thanks to higher margins and solid demand for its products as Americans fearing stricter gun-control laws stocked up firearms. The Company also provided optimistic guidance on full-year earnings.

Shares of Big Lots Inc. (NYSE: BIG) gained about 5% after the retailer’s quarterly earnings and revenue edged past Street’s forecast.

At 2:00 p.m. EST, the Federal Reserve is scheduled to release its monthly Beige Book, a barometer on the U.S. economy’s health.

Elsewhere in Europe, all leading benchmark indexes edged higher with Pan European Stoxx 600 Index gaining 0.19%, FTSE 100 edging up 0.38% while DAX was climbing 0.98%, 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.