Stocks gained ground to make new all-time closing highs on Thursday, with the Dow now over 17,500 for the first time and the S&P 500 climbing north of 2,028. These gains came on the final day before Friday’s October US jobs report, the first since the Federal Reserve ended its QE program last week.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 17,548.9, +64.3, (+0.4%)
- S&P 500: 2,030.4, +6.8, (+0.3%)
- Nasdaq: 4,637.3, +17.5, (+0.3%)
And now, the top stories on Thursday:
1. The European Central Bank announced its latest monetary policy decision on Thursday, keeping interest rates unchanged. ECB president Mario Draghi also held a press conference following the announcement, and as he did in October, reiterated that the ECB would look to expand its balance sheet back to 2012 levels. Draghi also added that ECB officials are “unanimous” in pushing for more monetary stimulus if it’s needed. Following the announcement and Draghi’s commentary, the euro plunged against the dollar.
2. In the US, the latest report on weekly jobless claims showed that claims fell to 278,000 from last week’s 287,000. The four-week moving average of claims also fell further, to 279,000, the lowest level since this average was at 273,000 in April 2000. This latest labour market update comes ahead of Friday’s big jobs report, which is expected to show the economy added 235,000 jobs in October, and you can read Business Insider’s full preview from Shane Ferro here.
3. Oil prices fell again, this time as OPEC released its latest World Oil Outlook which showed that demand is likely to fall through 2017. OPEC’s report also showed that, in 2013 dollars, oil prices are expected to fall through 2035.
4. One of the biggest stock losers on Thursday was Genworth Financial, which fell more than 37% after the company reported a quarterly loss of more than $US800 million, largely related to a reevaluation of the company’s long-term care insurance unit.
5. Apple earlier this week raised euro-denominated debt, and this debt is yielding considerably less than US government bonds.
6. Kate Spade shares went bonkers on Thursday, rising more than 15% after the company reported US sales that grew 36% during the quarter.
7. An afternoon report from Reuters said that a number of “high-profile” brokers have been leaving Merrill Lynch’s wealth management unit and executives at the firm’s Bank of America parent company have begun asking Merrill Lynch head John Thiel to explain the departures.
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