U.S. stocks opened higher on Thursday, extending records as investors welcomed upbeat economic reports in the U.S. and assurances from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi that the ECB would adopt further easing measures, if needed.
Speaking at a news conference after the ECB held its key interest rate at record lows, as expected, Draghi “gave the markets exactly what they wanted to hear,” noted Peter Boockvar, of Draghi’s assurances that ECB officials were unanimous in the view that they would take additional steps if warranted.
Wall Street embraced economic reports that had the government’s tally of Americans filing for jobless benefits falling by 10,000 to 278,000 last week, better than the expected 285,000.
Another report had productivity rising more than estimated in the third quarter.
Stocks rising in early New York trading including Whole Foods Market; the upscale grocer late Wednesday reported quarterly earnings that beat expectations. Qualcomm shares headed in the opposite direction after the chipmaker reported results late Wednesday and said an antitrust probe and difficulties collecting royalties could dent its business in China next year.
The U.S. dollar gained against the currencies of major U.S. trading partners; the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, used in figuring mortgage rates and other consumer loans, added 2 basis points to 2.3688 percent.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude and gold futures fell, with the former down $1.02, or 1.3 percent, at $77.66 a barrel and the latter off $2.10, or 0.2 percent, at $1,143.60 an ounce.
On Wednesday, U.S. stocks mostly rose, taking benchmarks to historical peaks, a day after elections had Republicans taking control of the Senate and as a report on the jobs market came in better than anticipated.