9.55 AM New York – U.S. stocks extended gains after the weekly jobless claims declined to the lows in January. January trade deficit widened on higher than expected import of crude oil.
Stocks in New York opened higher after weekly jobless claims declined to the lows last seen in January indicating private sector may add more than expected workers in the coming months.
The S&P 500 index gained 0.13% and the Nasdaq added 0.08% after first thirty minutes of trading.
Weekly Jobless Claims Decline to Six-Week Low
Initial claims of unemployment declined seasonally adjusted 7,000 to 340,000 last week and dropped near the lows last seen in January.
The data released by the Labor Department showed four-week average dropped 7,000 to 348,750, the lowest since March 2008.
According to the government, the number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits increased 3,000 to 3.09 million in the week ending on Feb 23.
The unemployment rate among Americans eligible for jobless benefits was steady at 2.4% in the week ending on Feb 23.
Claims for emergency and extended benefits decreased by 225,400 to 1.78 million in the week ending on Feb 16.
Trade Deficit Widens
U.S. trade deficit widened more than expected in January on higher than expected crude oil imports.
Exports in the month decreased 1.2% to $184.5 billion and imports increased 1.8% to $228.9 billion from the previous month.
Trade deficit in the month increased 16.5^% to $44.4 billion from revised $38.1 billion in December, according to the Commerce Department today.
The number of barrels of imported crude increased to 8.41 million from 7.19 in December and value of imported crude increased to $24.5 billion from $21.2 billion in the prior month.
Trade deficit with China widened to $27.8 billion from $26 billion in the month a year ago and the shortfall with Canada was the biggest in more than four years.
Stocks in Review
) soared 12% after the networking data equipment maker reported adjusted profit in the first quarter compared to expectations of a loss.
) declined 7% after the pet supplies retailer estimated revenues and earnings for the current below analyst projections. Fiscal fourth quarter earnings were ahead of expectations.
) declined after bulk shipping services provider reported a wider than expected fourth quarter loss and said outlook for revenues and charter rates remain depressed.