US stocks slightly higher in early trade
NEW YORK—US stock markets were slightly higher in early trade Thursday, uninspired by modestly promising US jobs and trade data and under the cloud of declines in Europe.
An hour into trade (1430 GMT), the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 3.89 points (0.03 percent) at 13,179.53.
The broader S&P 500-stock index added 1.43 point (0.10 percent) to 1,403.65, while the tech-rich Nasdaq gained 7.81 points (0.26 percent) to 3,019.06.
Trading drifted despite fresh economic data with a positive bent.
US initial claims for unemployment insurance, an indicator of the pace of layoffs, fell by 6,000 to 361,000 in the week to August 4.
Meanwhile, the trade deficit for June fell for the third straight month as exports continued to climb while imports decrease.
Cisco Systems led gainers on the Dow board of blue chips, adding 2.21 percent after Piper Jaffray changed its rating to “overweight” from neutral” on the shares ahead of the release of the company’s quarterly earnings report next week.
Hewlett-Packard topped the Dow losers, off 1.2 percent.
News Corp. shares fell 0.9 percent after the company turned in a quarterly loss, taking a $2.85 billion charge on its weakening publishing businesses.
Trade was strong in engineering systems and processes company Robbins and Myers, which jumped 27.1 percent to $59.50 after National Oilwell Varco agreed to pay $2.54 billion, or $60 a share, to take over the company.
National Oilwell added 0.6 percent to $76.79.
Bond prices slipped. The 10-year Treasury yield edged up to 1.71 percent from 1.64 percent Wednesday, while the 30-year rose to 2.78 percent from 2.74 percent. Bond yields move inversely to prices.
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