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04 Mar 2021 | 15:38

US open: Stocks stabilise ahead of Powell

(Sharecast News) - Wall Street's main market indices were all holding slightly higher in early trading, stabilising after selling from the day before carried over into the opening bell.

Investors were waiting on remarks from US central bank boss Jerome Powell scheduled for after 1705 GMT which some were undoubtedly hoping would help to soothe frayed nerves in government bond markets.

Ahead of Powell's remarks, at an event hosted by the Wall Street Journal, the Dow Jones Industrials Average was trading 0.22% or 70.01 points higher to 31,351.08, alongside a 0.31% or 11.99 point gain on the S&P 500 while the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.13% or 18.11 points at 13,015.09.

In parallel, the yield on the benchmark 10-year US Treasury note was slipping by two basis points to 1.46%.

"The US bond market tantrum returned last night, not a full-blown one, mind you, just enough for the baby to throw a few of its toys out of the pram," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst in Asia Pacific for Oanda.

Not lost on Halley was the February US non-farm payrolls report which was scheduled for release the next day.

The analyst believed a print "well North" of 200,000 jobs was most likely but pointed out that "What should be a bullish indicator for equities is likely to be negative in current market conditions, as bond yields will likely squeeze higher."

Ahead of the opening bell, consultancy Challenger reported a 57% drop in the number of job cut announcements by US-based companies in February to reach 34,351 - the lowest level since December 2019.

That was followed by figures showing that the number of initial unemployment claims in the US rose unexpectedly during the week ending on 25 February, by 9,000 to reach 745,000 (consensus: 710,000).

Ian Shepherdson at Pantheon Macroeconomics for one however had been expecting worse, as the dampening effect of the winder storms washed out of the data.

Nonetheless, Shepherdson cautioned that while "we expect the trend to fall sharply over the next few months, provided the new Covid variants don't trigger a spring wave in cases and, more importantly, hospitalizations. The jury is still out."

On the corporate side of things, shares of Apple were down 0.3% following reports of a probe by the UK's Competition and Markets Authority into the tech giant app store.

Dow Jones - Risers

Unitedhealth Group Inc. (UNH) $340.15 2.19% Chevron Corp. (CVX) $105.41 1.76% Coca-Cola Co. (KO) $50.82 1.68% Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) $124.61 1.18% 3M Co. (MMM) $179.93 1.05% Walmart Inc. (WMT) $128.46 0.68% Boeing Co. (BA) $229.51 0.42% Travelers Company Inc. (TRV) $151.04 0.22% Dowdupont Inc. (DWDP) $30.52 0.00% International Business Machines Corporation (CDI) (IBM) $122.35 -0.01%

Dow Jones - Fallers

Walt Disney Co. (DIS) $187.52 -2.47% Home Depot Inc. (HD) $251.55 -2.26% Dow Chemical Co. (DOW) $61.23 -1.64% Nike Inc. (NKE) $132.13 -1.58% Intel Corp. (INTC) $59.03 -1.46% Salesforce.Com Inc. (CRM) $203.27 -1.33% American Express Co. (AXP) $140.76 -1.29% Apple Inc. (AAPL) $120.60 -1.20% Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) $212.70 -1.03% Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) $154.86 -0.87%

S&P 500 - Risers

Diamondback Energy Inc. (FANG) $77.13 3.61% Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN) $72.39 3.47% Centerpoint Energy Inc. (CNP) $20.13 3.47% Amer Water Works (AWK) $136.21 3.09% Evergy, Inc. (EVRG) $55.22 2.81% Anthem Inc (ANTM) $323.44 2.77% Wisconsin Energy Corp. (WEC) $84.54 2.77% CIGNA Corp. (CI) $226.30 2.57% Atmos Energy Corp. (ATO) $90.71 2.56% J. M. Smucker Co. (SJM) $116.78 2.44%

S&P 500 - Fallers

Freeport-McMoRan Inc (FCX) $32.33 -7.63% Western Digital Corp. (WDC) $65.10 -6.57% Nektar Therapeutics (NKTR) $21.92 -6.48% Mosaic Company (MOS) $29.63 -6.13% Seagate Technology Plc (STX) $71.29 -6.12% Micron Technology Inc. (MU) $84.64 -5.02% Albemarle Corp. (ALB) $139.69 -4.97% Gap Inc. (GPS) $24.58 -4.54% Kohls Corp. (KSS) $55.09 -4.37% KLA-Tencor Corp. (KLAC) $290.74 -4.30%

Nasdaq 100 - Risers

Mondelez International Inc. (MDLZ) $54.16 2.30% Kraft Heinz Co. (KHC) $38.68 1.84% Cerner Corp. (CERN) $69.35 1.17% Dollar Tree Inc (DLTR) $102.90 1.00% J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. (JBHT) $153.88 0.85% Vodafone Group Plc ADS (VOD) $17.77 0.79% Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ALXN) $149.30 0.75% Fiserv Inc. (FISV) $116.65 0.74% Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD) $63.18 0.69% Citrix Systems Inc. (CTXS) $133.04 0.61%

Nasdaq 100 - Fallers

Western Digital Corp. (WDC) $65.10 -6.57% Seagate Technology Plc (STX) $71.29 -6.12% Baidu Inc. (BIDU) $262.07 -5.66% Micron Technology Inc. (MU) $84.64 -5.02% Tesla Inc (TSLA) $624.50 -4.39% Mercadolibre Inc. (MELI) $1,461.29 -4.37% KLA-Tencor Corp. (KLAC) $290.74 -4.30% Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT) $110.51 -4.27% Lam Research Corp. (LRCX) $527.91 -4.23%, Inc. (JD) $89.86 -4.02%
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