US open: Stocks trade higher following preliminary GDP reading, jobless claims
Wall Street stocks traded higher early on Thursday as traders digested some key data points and more corporate earnings.
As of 1530 BST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.48% at 35,662, while the S&P 500 was 0.65% firmer at 4,581.04 and the Nasdaq Composite came out the gate 0.82% stronger at 15,360.44.
The Dow opened 171.87 points higher on Thursday, reclaiming some of yesterday's losses that saw the blue-chip index knocked off its record high.
Thursday's primary focus was news that US economic growth had slowed more sharply than anticipated over the three months ended 30 September. According to the Department of Commerce, a preliminary reading showed that the rate of growth in US gross domestic product decelerated to a quarterly annualised pace of 2.0% in the third quarter - down from the 6.7% clip observed during the preceding three months.
In other data news, Americans applied for unemployment benefits at a slower pace last week, indicating that the US job market and economy were continuing to recover from the coronavirus-induced recession. Initial jobless claims dropped by 10,000 to 281,000 in the week ended 23 October, a fresh pandemic-era low, according to the Labor Department.
The prior week's figure was upwardly revised from 290,000 to 291,000, while continuing claims slid to 2.24m for the week ended 16 October, beating median estimates for a print of 2.42m - another new Covid-19 era low.
Still on the macro front, pending home sales fell unexpectedly in September, down 2.3% month-on-month, according to the National Association of Realtors, principally due to a sharp increase in mortgage rates in the middle of the month.
Corporate earnings were also one of the session's primary focuses, with another batch of big-name results scheduled for release throughout the course of the day.
First off, Bombardier said its quarterly loss had narrowed and revenues had increased 17% to $1.4bn amid heightened demand for its business jets, while toolmaker Stanley Black & Decker beat estimates with its adjusted third-quarter earnings.
Merck & Co posted an earnings beat on the top and bottom lines, while trade bellwether Caterpillar topped profit estimates but fell shy on revenue and Taco Bell parent company Yum! Brands traded higher at the open after earnings topped estimates.
Elsewhere, Hershey's said the Halloween chocolate rush had sweetened its full-year outlook, while Amazon, Apple, Starbucks, Western Digital and Gilead Sciences will all update on recent trading after the close.