Crude oil is near a 6-month high

Stocks were higher in early trading on Thursday and crude oil rose to a six-month high.

Near 10:04 a.m. ET, the Dow was up 33 points (0.2%), the S&P 500 was up 3 points (0.15%) and the Nasdaq was alone in the red, down 8 points (-0.18%).

Apple shares took out their year-to-date low and fell nearly 2% to as low as $90.64, the weakest level since June 2014.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures in New York touched $47.02 per barrel, the highest level since October. Crude oil has rallied 26% in April.

The big industry news in recent days included an unexpected drop in US inventories last week reported Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration, and potential supply disruptions in Canada following the Fort McMurray wildfire.

In economic data, initial jobless claims unexpectedly spiked by 20,000 to 294,000, the highest level since last February. It’s not a reason to be alarmed though, as there aren’t many indications that companies are increasing layoffs.

In other news, Monsanto shares surged as much as 10% after Bloomberg reported that the chemical and pharma giant Bayer AG is thinking about making a bid for it.

Kohl’s joined the list of retailers that had a subpar quarter when it reported earnings pre-market that missed on profits, sales, and comparable-store sales.

Shares of Target, Nordstrom and other stores tanked in trading on Tuesday after disappointing results from Macy’s. The “XRT” exchange traded fund that tracks the retail sector was virtually flat in early trading after dropping 4% Wednesday.

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