The US stock market finished higher after fluctuating between positive and negative territory for most of the trading session on Thursday, 05 December 2019, as investors digested strong employment data while they remained optimistic about prospects for a U. S.-China trade deal despite a looming deadline for the imposition of fresh import tariffs by President Donald Trump. At closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 28.01 points, 0.1%, at 27,677.79 after trading in the red most of the day. The S&P 500 was up 4.67 points, or 0.15%, at 3,117.43 and the Nasdaq Composite closed 4.03 points higher, or 0.05%, at 8,570.70.
Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500 seven were trading in the red. Materials stocks were the biggest winners, while consumer staples suffered the largest percentage drop.
The market has swung into positive terrain after the Labor Department said U. S. weekly jobless claims dropped 203,000 last week. The print was the lowest in seven months. The report quelled fears stemming from a disappointing private payrolls number released Wednesday. It also comes a day before the government's monthly nonfarm payrolls report. Traders awaited Friday's U. S. jobs report, which may signal that both the labor market and consumers remain buoyant enough to sustain the expansion. That would validate Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's view that rates can stay on hold following three cuts.
But it could also reduce the urgency for a deal with China, given that escalating levies have so far failed to significantly dent employment.
Investors watched for signs the world's two largest economies will reach a truce in a dispute that's led to the biggest volley of tariffs since the 1930s. Equities rebounded after President Donald Trump's remarks that negotiations were moving along well. Gains were briefly capped by a news report that the U. S. and China remained at odds over the value of farm purchases.
Market participants appeared to show little heed to the drama unfolding in Washington as the U. S. House of Representatives prepared to draft articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. The articles of impeachment stem from a July 25 phone call in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to carry out two investigations that would benefit him politically.
ECONOMIC NEWS: US Weekly Jobless Claims Dip To Seven-Month Low-- The Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing an unexpected decrease in first-time claims for U. S. unemployment benefits in the week ended November 30th. The report said initial jobless claims slipped to 203,000, a decrease of 10,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 213,000. With the unexpected decrease, jobless claims fell to their lowest level since hitting 193,000 in the week ended April 13th.
US Manufacturing Orders Rise In October-- US new orders for manufactured goods rose by 0.3% in October after falling by a revised 0.8% in September, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Thursday. Orders for durable goods climbed by 0.5% compared to the previously reported 0.6% increase, while orders for non-durable goods came in unchanged. The report said shipments of manufactured goods were virtually unchanged in October after falling by 0.4% in September. Inventories crept up by 0.1% after rising by 0.3% in the previous month.
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