US stocks climb as the number of unemployed Americans shrinks

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US stocks climb as the number of unemployed Americans shrinks
Reuters
  • US stocks turned higher on Thursday as investors mulled the Labor Department's latest jobless-claims report and fresh US-China tensions.
  • 2.1 million Americans filed for unemployment during the week ended on Saturday, according to a Thursday release.
  • Continuing claims contracted for the first time since early March, fueling hope for a labor-market recovery.
  • China's approval of controversial national security laws in Hong Kong bolstered concerns of a new conflict between the country and the US.
  • Watch major indexes update live here.

US stocks turned higher Thursday afternoon amid growing hope for a labor-market rebound.

Jobless claims for the week ended Saturday reached 2.1 million, the Labor Department announced Thursday. The reading matched economists' median estimate and brought the metric's 10-week total to 40.7 million. The number of new filings has now dropped for eight consecutive weeks.

Continuing claims, which cover the share of Americans receiving unemployment benefits — fell to 21 million from 25 million for the week ended May 16. The decline is the first since early March and suggests the job market may be recovering as lockdowns are relaxed.

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Here's where US indexes stood at 12:45 p.m. ET on Thursday:

Read more: David Herro was the world's best international stock-picker for a decade straight. He breaks down 8 stocks he bet on after the coronavirus decimated markets — and 3 he sold.

Equities opened mixed on Thursday before turning higher through the morning.

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Traders also mulled China's approval of controversial new national security laws in Hong Kong. The move follows President Trump threatening retaliation and the US attempting to hold a United Nations Security Council meeting on the laws.

The White House also announced Wednesday it would no longer recognize Hong Kong's political autonomy from China, ratcheting up tensions across the three economic powers.

Sliding tech stocks initially dragged the Nasdaq lower. Investors are waiting for President Donald Trump to sign an executive order disciplining social media companies for their content moderation methods. The president recently fired back at Twitter after the company began fact-checking his tweets.

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Read more: A part-time real-estate investor quit his traditional job 5 years after snagging his first deal. He shares his no-hassle strategy that's allowed him to travel the world with his 6 kids.

Oil posted a similar surge through the morning. West Texas Intermediate crude leaped as much as 3.2%, to $33.87 per barrel. Brent crude, oil's international standard, gained 2.8%, to $35.74 per barrel, at intraday highs.

Thursday's session follows major gains through the shortened trading week. The Dow climbed 553 points on Wednesday as investors grew more optimistic toward the chance of a swift economic recovery.

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The S&P 500 closed above 3,000 for the first time since early March. Stocks that had been slammed hardest by previous months' sell-offs, including airline companies, cruise lines, and banks, all surged through Wednesday's session.

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Read the original article on Business Insider
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