US stocks open higher after jump in oil, China data

The S&P 500 remained below 1,900 after closing below that level Monday.

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US stocks fell in early trading on Thursday as a sharp decline in Apple’s shares weighed on the three major indexes.

In company-specific news, Ralph Lauren gained 6 percent after its namesake founder stepped aside as CEO. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index jumped 18 points, or 1 percent, to 1,902.

Pharmaceutical stocks continued to rally, with Allergan rising 3.9%, Dow member Pfizer adding 1.4% and Celgene gaining 4.3%.

Soft data in Japan and the euro zone boosted hopes of more stimulus in those regions.

Profits at Chinese industrial companies fell 8.8 percent, fresh data showed, pushing down shares of raw material producers and energy companies.

A reading showing that USA companies added a better-than-expected 200,000 private-sector jobs in September, according to payroll processor ADP, helped the metal extend its losses early in the session.

“After this big rally we had yesterday, I think people want to sit and see what happens”, said Matt Maley, an equity strategist at Miller Tabak in New York. “To have a kind of quiet market is more comforting for the average investor”. We’ve been at pretty subdued levels (of volatility).

US stocks closed mixed Tuesday, after plunging almost 2 percent or more on Monday. The dollar rose 0.3% against the yen to Yen120.21.

It was a good end to a miserable quarter.

Markets around the world have endured a bruising quarter as worries about a slowdown in China, and uncertainty over the timing of the Federal Reserve’s plan to raise interest rates rattled investors.

Oil majors Exxon (N:XOM) and Chevron (N:CVX) were down about 1 percent. The Russell 2000 held below its August 24 low Tuesday. And this raises questions about what sectors will provide leadership for the broad market.

Yet while the U.S. recovery has been significantly brisker and more robust than Europe’s, the outlook for corporate earnings – the reporting season kicks off in less than a fortnight – has deteriorated significantly, mainly because of the plunge in commodity prices.

Biotechnology stocks halted a selloff that sent the former high-fliers into a bear market.

“Hopefully we should be looking forward”.

“While I only take consumer confidence data with a grain of salt because they can be fickle, are typically not leading indicators and are rarely market moving, the income component is another anecdotal sign of improving wage gains which is encouraging to see”, he said. Joy Global is the second-worst performer in the benchmark this year, down 69 per cent. Consol Energy, the worst performer, is down 6.7 per cent today to extend its 2015 slide to 73 per cent..

The September Chicago purchasing managers index came in at 48.7, below expectations of 53.0. As a result, the 10-yr note reclaimed its overnight loss with the benchmark yield ending flat at 2.05%.

USA consumer spending rose more than expected in August, data showed on Monday, appearing to add to the case for an interest rate increase this year.

Several other Fed officials are scheduled to speak during the week, including Chair Janet Yellen on Wednesday. If a deal is not reached, the government could shutdown as of Thursday. The broad-based S&P 500 rose 3.79 points (0.20 per cent) to 1,923.82, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 6.92 points (0.15 per cent) to 4,627.08.

The Nasdaq (^IXIC) traded up 61 points, or 1.36 percent, at 4,578.

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November West Texas Intermediate crude settled at $45.09 a barrel, down 14 cents, or 0.3%, on the New York Mercantile Exchange, trading between a high of $45.85 and a low of $44.68.

REUTERS  Brendan McDermid