Wall Street Opens a Tough Higher as Low Claims Ease Slowdown Fears; Dow up 50 Pts

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By Geoffrey Smith 

Investing.com — U.S. stock markets opened Thursday a touch higher, futures reversing overnight losses as lower-than-expected jobless claims for last week calmed fears about the economy possibly slowing down. 

The Labor Department said that 310,000 people filed for jobless benefits last week, a new post-pandemic low. The figures were consistent with August’s on Wednesday, which also indicated a rapidly tightening labor market with another steep rise in vacancies.

By 9:35 AM ET (1335 GMT), the was 54 points, or 0..2%, at 35,085 points. The and the were both up in parallel.

The mood was also supported at the margins by news out of the European Central Bank, which stressed that its decision to slow the pace of its bond-buying over the next three months was not necessarily the start of a total phase-out of asset purchases.

GameStop (NYSE:) stock stood out in early dealing, falling 7.5% after disappointing with a lack of guidance for the rest of the year after its quarterly update late on Wednesday. The news revived concerns about how real the company’s self-reinvention as a modern digital-first retailer really is. 

Sea Ltd (NYSE:), the south-east Asian multi-app conglomerate backed by Tencent Holdings, fell 7.2% after it announced plans to raise over $6.2 billion in fresh stock and debt. Sea is looking to capitalize on a sharp rise in its stock price over the last year, at a time when its rivals – especially in the gaming sector – are distracted by increasingly intense regulatory pressure at home. Tencent ADRs (OTC:) fell 4.6% and NetEase (NASDAQ:) fell 4.1% after China reportedly suspended the approval of new games while issuing more demands on how gaming companies conduct themselves.

There was better news from Lululemon Athletica (NASDAQ:) stock, which rose over 11% after it raised its guidance for the full year, suggesting that demand for sports and casual wear should survive the mass return to the office. Nike (NYSE:) stock was dragged up 2.3% in sympathy, while Under Armour (NYSE:) stock rose 1.2%.

Another stock in the exercise space to do well was Peloton Interactive (NASDAQ:), which rose 5.1% after the maker of connected fitness equipment said it will launch its own brand of apparel, something that should be more affordable than its exercise bikes and treadmills.

Energy stocks were mixed as prices fell sharply in response to China saying it will release oil from its strategic reserves in order to keep a lid on domestic prices. Exxon Mobil (NYSE:) and Chevron (NYSE:) stock both fell by around 0.5%.

Elsewhere, Boston Beer (NYSE:), the company behind the Sam Adams family of brews, fell 7.5% to a new 15-month low after withdrawing its full-year guidance, a move that many took as signalling more weakness in the hard seltzer market, which had been a key part of the brewer’s strategy to deal with changing consumer tastes.

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