Dow nurses small gains to open on last trading day in September


US stocks opened higher Thursday morning, as Wall Street aims to close the last trading day of a tumultuous September and the last session of the third quarter, as investors await another appearance from the chairman of the Reserve Federal Secretary Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who testify before the House Financial Services Committee.

Sentiment was also bolstered by hopes the government will avoid a shutdown as the midnight Thursday deadline approaches Thursday for funding operations.

How are stock index futures traded?
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA,
    increased 34 points, or 0.1%, to 34,412.

  • The S&P 500 SPX index,
    + 0.17%
    rose 0.3% to 4,372, a gain of 13 points.

  • The Nasdaq COMP Composite Index,
    + 0.42%
    climbed 0.8% to 14,623, advancing about 112 points.

For the month, the Dow was heading down 2.4%, the S&P 500 was down 3.2% and the Nasdaq Composite was down 4.3%. For the quarter, the Dow Jones was flat, the S&P 500 was up 1.9% and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.8%.

What drives the market?

Investors were helped by bond yields which eased again with the 10-year Treasury TMUBMUSD10Y,
sliding 2 basis points to 1.524%. The US dollar was in the spotlight as it rose 0.2% to 94.49, a level that has not been seen for about a year.

Some easing of tensions on the US political front could give stocks a boost. As the midnight deadline approaches, lawmakers in Washington plan to vote on a short-term spending bill on Thursday to keep the federal government operating until early December.

Data-wise, the number of people claiming unemployment benefits in the United States in late September peaked in two months, but much of the increase came in California. New jobless claims traditionally paid by states rose from 11,000 to 362,000 in the seven days ended September 25. the government said on Thursday.

Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had estimated that the new requests would total 330,000 seasonally adjusted.

The Chicago Purchasing Managers Index for September is due at 9:45 a.m. EST.

And investors will hear from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell again as he prepares to testify before a House panel on COVID relief at 10 a.m. EST. Several other Fed officials, including Atlanta Fed Chairman Raphael Bostic, Philadelphia Fed Chairman Patrick Harker, Chicago Fed Chairman Charles Evans, and St. Louis Fed Chairman James Bullard will be making appearances on Thursday.

Which companies are targeted?
  • Virgin Galactic Holding Inc.
    + 15.89%
    shares rose 8% in pre-market trading, after the space tourism company announced the end of a Federal Aviation Administration investigation into its test flight with founder Richard Branson on board.
  • CarMax Inc.
    shares slipped 9% in pre-market trading after the auto retailer reported a 4% drop in second-quarter net income to $ 1.72 per share, which is below Wall Street expectations.
How are other assets traded?
  • The 10-year Treasury bill TMUBMUSD10Y,
    yielded 1.54% little change from its level on Wednesday.

  • The ICE US Dollar DXY Index, a measure of the currency against a basket of six major rivals, held steady, holding at 94.319, the highest level in about a year.

  • Oil futures eased, with the US benchmark CL00,
    down 1.7% to $ 73.49 per barrel, while the international benchmark Brent BRN00,
    fell 1.5% to $ 76.97.

  • In European equities, the Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP index,
    traded down 0.2% and the FTSE 100 UKX index,
    fell 0.3%. In Asia, the Nikkei 225 NIK index,
    slipped 0.3%, Hong Kong’s HSI Hang Seng index,
    slipped 0.3% and the Chinese CSI 300,000 300 index,
    + 0.67%
    increased 0.6%.

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