U.S. stocks opened modestly higher Thursday morning as investors weighed a stream of data and economic reports, in the final day of trading this week. (Markets will be closed in observance of Good Friday).
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 92 points, or 0.4%, at 26,538, the S&P 500 index advanced 0.2% at 2,904, while the Nasdaq Composite Index traded flat at 7,995.
All three equity gauges were within striking distance of records. Although investors will be tracking the report linked to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference during President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, investors are mostly focused on earnings and the health of the U.S. economy.
Thus far, earnings have been OK, with first-quarter earnings improving somewhat, according to CFRA, which said consensus estimates now call for a 2.3% fall in first-quarter operating earnings per share, or EPIS, up from estimates for a 3% drop ahead of the kickoff of earnings season, but down from the 4.5% increase projected at the end of last year.
On the economic front, jobless claims slipped by 5,000 to 192,000 in the seven days ended April 13, falling to a 50-year low, the government said Thursday. Economists polled by MarketWatch forecast a 204,000 reading. Separately, A reading of retail sales soared 1.6% last month, the government said Thursday. Economists polled by MarketWatch expected sales to climb 1.1%.
Source : Market Watch