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The major indices opened markets higher on Thursday after improved initial claims data. The S&P 500 index was up 16 points, while the Dow Jones index moved 125 points higher. The heavy-tech Nasdaq 100 index was up by 60 points.

US Markets Concerns

According to data released by the US Department of Labor, the seasonally adjusted initial claims for the week ending August 28, came in lower at 340,000. This was the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020.

However, analysts are still uncertain about the employment sector after disappointing ADP nonfarm employment data. Data released to the ADP National Employment Report on Wednesday, the number of new private jobs added in August increased by 374,000. This was lower than the Dow Jones estimate of an increase of 613,000.

US Treasury bonds were in the red after the release of the US weekly initial jobless claims. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.289%. The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond slipped to 1.906%.

Oil prices jumped higher on Thursday, boosted by a slump in US crude stocks as well as a weaker dollar. According to the OPEC+ meeting report on Wednesday, the group maintained its take on increasing output. US WTI crude was up 1.25% at $69.45 per barrel, while Brent crude advanced 1.15% to $72.40 per barrel.

Investors are closely watching the Nonfarm Payrolls data or August due on Friday. Economists expect the payrolls to decrease to 750,000. They also expect the unemployment rate to decline to 5.2%. The outcome in Friday’s employment data will impact the Federal Reserve’s decision on when to taper their asset purchases.

S&P 500 Movers

The best performer in the S&P 500 index was Quanta Services. The American corporation gained 8.62% after announcing its plans to acquire Blattner Holdings for $2.7 billion. Blattner Holdings is a renewable energy contractor.

Baxter International Inc was up 5.99%. The health care company announced its plans to acquire Hill-Rom, a medical technology firm for $10.5 billion.

Hormel Foods led the laggards in the S&P 500 index. The food company slipped 2.45% after releasing its third-quarter results. The company’s operating income dipped 17% to $207 million. Its diluted earnings per share fell 14% to $0.32.

Biogen was also among the drags, dropping 2.12%. Doctors have reported that Biogen’s new Alzheimer’s drugs are beyond reach for most patients. According to them, most insurers have been reluctant to pay for the medication.

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