US open: Gains limited as bond yields hit 15-year high
US stocks edged higher on Thursday morning, though gains were limited as 10-year Treasury yields reached their highest since the financial crisis.
Just after the opening bell, the Dow rose 0.3% to 34,869, the Nasdaq gained 0.2% to 13,500 while the S&P 500 increased 0.3% to 4,417, bouncing off a five-week low.
10-year bond yields were up 4.4 basis points at 4.3%, briefly touching 4.315% – levels not seen since 2008 – on prospects that the Federal Reserve might keep interest rates higher for longer.
The S&P 500 fell to 4,404 on Wednesday, its lowest close since 7 July, after minutes from July’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting hinted at the need for “further tightening of monetary policy” to tackle rising inflation, which they viewed as having “significant upside risks”.
In economic news on Thursday, weekly jobless claims declined to 239,000 last week, according to the Department of Labor, broadly in line with the consensus forecast of 240,000. However, the previous week’s figure was revised up by 2,000 to 250,000.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey increased from -13.5 to +12 in August, surprising analysts who had expected another decline in activity (indicated by any number below zero). This was the first indication of expansion in nearly a year.
Wal-Mart beats estimates
Retail giant Wal-Mart was making headlines after reporting that second-quarter same-store sales rose by 6.30%, more than the 4% increase forecast by analysts. Shares were nudging higher early on.
Hawaiian Electric shares dropped as the fallout from Maui’s wildfires continued to hit sentiment on the back of claims that the utility provider mismanaged the crisis.
Ball Corp was making headlines after selling its aerospace division to London-listed defence giant BAE Systems for $5.55bn.
Cisco Systems shares rose after the tech group topped analysts’ estimates with its fourth-quarter results after the closing bell on Wednesday.