Investing.com - U.S. stocks opened moderately higher on Thursday, after the release of downbeat U.S. economic reports and as investors turned their attention to the highly-anticipated U.S. nonfarm payrolls report on Friday.
During early U.S. trade, the Dow 30 added 0.10%, the S&P 500 edged 0.06% higher, while the Nasdaq eased up 0.06%.
The U.S. Labor Department reported that the number of people who filed for unemployment assistance last week increased by 10,000 to 326,000 from the previous week’s revised total of 310,000.
Analysts had expected jobless claims to rise by 7,000 to 317,000 last week.
A separate report showed that the U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly widened to $42.3 billion in February from a deficit of $39.28 billion the previous month. Analysts had expected the U.S. trade deficit to narrow to $38.5 billion.
In the financial sector, J P Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) added 0.18% after Russia''s economy minister, Alexey Ulyukaev, said that the bank will not face retaliation after it refused to process a payment by the Russian embassy.
Citigroup (NYSE:C) dropped 0.52% after the New York Times reported that U.S. authorities launched a criminal investigation into a $400 million fraud involving the lender''s Mexican unit.
Meanwhile, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) shares retreated 0.85% a day after the tech giant formally announced it has developed a voice activated phone assistant feature called Cortana, competing directly with to Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)''s Siri.
Adding to losses, Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) tumbled 1.29% after the online retailer unveiled on Wednesday the Fire TV on Wednesday, giving it a competitor to Roku, Google Chromecast and Apple TV.
Elsewhere, Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) declined 0.61% as the electric car maker was sett to appeal a New Jersey ruling preventing it from selling cars directly to consumers.
Other stocks likely to be in focus included RPM International (RPM), scheduled to report quarterly earnings later in the day.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were higher. The DJ Euro Stoxx 50 jumped 0.97%, France’s CAC 40 climed 0.86%, Germany''s DAX advanced 0.67%, while Britain''s FTSE 100 rose 0.22%.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong''s Hang Seng added 0.18%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 0.84%.
Later in the day, the Institute of Supply Management was to publish a report service sector activity.
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