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04 Feb 2021 | 15:34

US open: Stocks record early gains following jobless data

(Sharecast News) - Wall Street stocks were in the green following the opening bell on Thursday following another round of corporate earnings and a slightly better-than-expected jobless claims report. As of 1530 GMT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.79% at 30,964.93, while the S&P 500 was 0.58% firmer at 3,852.37 and the Nasdaq Composite started out the session 0.46% stronger at 13,672.50.

The Dow opened 241.33 points higher on Thursday, extending modest gains recorded in the previous session.

eBay shares were in focus after posting earnings that beat on both the top and bottom lines overnight, while PayPal was also in the green thanks to some better-than-expected quarterly figures.

Bristol-Myers Squibb posted a fourth-quarter loss of $4.45 per share despite a 39% boost to revenues, while Merck & Co posted a quarterly loss of $2.09bn.

Phillip Morris beat on both earnings and revenues, while Hershey's was boosted by strong organic growth in its fourth quarter.

Ford, Activision Blizzard, Snap and Wynn Resorts will also report earnings throughout the course of the day.

Also in focus was news that Democrats will move ahead with President Joe Biden's $1.9trn Covid-19 relief proposal, rebuffing a Republican counteroffer for a more modest $618.0bn package, which includes new stimulus checks of $1,000 per person.

On the macro front, planned job cuts by US companies increased 3.3% month-on-month to 79,552 in January, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, although the outplacement and business and executive coaching firm noted a levelling off of announcements, which it said could bode well for recovery over the coming months.

Elsewhere, US jobless claims continued to drop over the week ended 30 January, hitting a nine-week low, albeit while remaining at exceedingly elevated levels. The Department of Labor reported a 33,000 drop for initial unemployment claims during the week ending on 30 January to reach 779,000. Economists had pencilled-in a print of 825,000.

Lastly, new orders for US factory goods rose 1.1% to $493.5bn in December, according to the Census Bureau.

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco president Mary Daly will deliver comments at 1900 GMT.
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