Investing.com – U.S. stocks opened firmer Thursday as investors reacted positively to the apparent scaling down of tensions in the Middle East, turning their attention back to the economy’s sound fundamentals.
The index was trading 13 points higher, or 0.4%, by 9:45 AM ET (14:45 GMT), with the up 67 points, or 0.7%, and the up 124 points, or 0.4%, at a new all-time high of 28,869.44.
In a statement Wednesday President Donald Trump drew back from new military action after Iran’s missile strikes, instead stating that he would tighten already strong U.S. economic sanctions against the Middle East power. He did not state in which area these new sanctions would hit.
These comments came a few hours after Iran’s foreign minister said the missile strikes “concluded” its response to the killing of military leader Qassem Soleimani.
Investors have thus turned away from this spat and started to focus once more on the fundamentals surrounding the U.S. economy, including an easing Federal Reserve and strong employment growth.
Further evidence of the healthy employment situation came with the release of the latest weekly data, which fell more than expected last week, down 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 214,000 for the week ended Jan. 4. Economists had forecast claims would fall to 220,000 in the latest week. This follows Wednesday strong data and comes ahead of Friday’s key official employment release.
Bucking the general positive trend are a number of retail stocks which have suffered disappointing sales figures during the important holiday period.
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc (NASDAQ:) dropped almost 18% after stating after hours Wednesday that it would have to change its fiscal 2019 outlook after its earnings miss.
Kohl’s (NYSE:) also fell sharply, down 9.2%, after posting weak numbers in its key women’s business and stating that its 2019 earnings would be at the lower end of its forecast range.
JC Penney (NYSE:) also fell back after it said its same-store sales over the holiday period dropped 7.5%. Its shares dropped 5%.
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