11:00 AM New York – Market index in New York traded higher and the S&P 500 and the Dow flirted with new highs. Weekly initial claims of unemployment declined 42,000 at the end of last week and import prices declined in March. Microsoft, Hewlett Packard and Intel declined after personal computer sales slumped.
U.S. market indexes traded higher and the broad S&P 500 index traded at a new high after the initial claims for unemployment fell more than expected last week.
The S&P 500 index increased 0.27% or 4.21 to 1,591.94 and the Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.03% or 0.87 to 3,298.12.
Fed minute of meetings indicated policy members debating the end of monthly purchase of $85 billion in Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities.
Initial Weekly Jobless Claims Decline
Initial claims for state benefits declined 42,000 to a seasonally adjusted 346,000 at the end of last week, according to the data released by the Labor Department.
Data for the previous week was revised higher by 3,000 more applications.
Seasonal factors are still affecting total claims across the nation with the Easter holiday and school spring breaks. The claims data are expected to be volatile for at least two more weeks.
The 4-week moving average increased 3,000 to 358,000 and despite the slight increase in claims economists are still estimating economy to generate close to 150,000 jobs a month.
Import prices fell 0.5% in March on the weakness in petroleum prices, according to the separate released by the Labor Department.
In European trading, market indexes gained fraction across the euro zone.
In London trading, FTSE 100 index added 0.2% or 15.9 to 6,403 and in Frankfurt the DAX index rose 0.4% to 29.8 to 7,840. In Paris, CAC 40 index gained 0.6% or 21.6 to 3,765.
Axa SA gained 1% after the Paris based insurer agreed to sell its U.S. based Protective Life Corp for $1.06 billion.
Marks & Spencer, the U.K. based food and apparel retailer reported better than expected quarterly sales.
Evraz plunged 10% after the Russia based steel maker reported a quarterly loss and board of directors did not announce a final dividend. The steelmaker dropped the most since it began trading in London in November 2011.
In Asian markets, stocks traded higher and the Nikkei in Japan closed at 5-year high as the yen inched closer to 100 mark against the dollar.
The Nikkei for the year has surged 30% on top of 23.4% increase in 2011 after the Bank of Japan announced a plan to spend $1.4 trillion in the next two years to break economy from the decade of slump.
Stocks in Review
Tech stocks and PC related companies declined after market research firm IDC said global shipments of personal computers plunged 13.9% in the first quarter.