US stocks rise on retail sales data
NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks rose early on Thursday following better-than-expected US retail sales data and a European Central Bank decision that lifted European markets.
The ECB move comes on the heels the Federal Reserve decision Wednesday to raise the key interest rates, and accelerate rate hikes into 2019, that weighed on US stocks.
About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.3 per cent at 25,282.11.
The broad-based S&P 500 climbed 0.3 per cent to 2,784.71, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.6 per cent to 7,741.42.
US retail and food services sales jumped 0.8 per cent in May, the strongest since November and double the rate economists were expecting.
The ECB, meanwhile, announced plans to taper bondbuying stimulus after September and end the programme completely in December. The central bank intends to keep benchmark interest rates at current levels through the summer of 2019.
Bourses in Paris and Frankfurt both rose about one per cent.
Comcast jumped 4.3 per cent after bidding $65 billion for key film and television assets of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, topping an earlier offer from Disney. Disney climbed 2.0 per cent and Fox won 1.3 per cent.
US retail sales increased more than expected in May as consumers bought motor vehicles and a range of other goods even as they paid more for gasoline, the latest indication of an acceleration in economic growth in the second quarter.
Other data on Thursday showed a further tightening in labour market conditions, with first-time applications for unemployment benefits unexpectedly falling last week and the number of Americans on jobless rolls declining to a near 44-1/2-year low.
The reports came a day after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for a second time this year and offered an upbeat assessment of the economy.
A trader watches screens on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.