U.S. stocks traded modestly higher Thursday with large-cap tech stocks again leading a mini-rebound for the Nasdaq while lower oil prices and heavy bank stocks held down gains for the other major indices.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 50 points, or 0.22%, as Nike Inc. (NKE) and General Electric Co. (GE) led gainers. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) declined 0.3% but Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) rose 1.2%, bucking the trend of a weaker financial sector. Boeing Co. (BA) rose 0.98%. The S&P 500 gained 0.08%.
General Electric shares rose 1.4% after the company said it will axe more than 2,000 jobs in Europe as part of a worldwide reduction in its workforce that could reach 12,000 in an effort to cut costs by around $3.5 billion over the next two years.
Broadcom Ltd. (AVGO) rose 2% after the chipmaker's fiscal fourth-quarter earnings topped Wall Street estimates and the company predicted revenue in its fiscal first quarter to exceed forecasts.
Weekly U.S. jobless claims in the U.S. fell 2,000 to a five-week low of 236,000, although the dollar index, which benchmarks the greenback against a basket of six global currencies, held at a near two-week high of 93.67 following the data release.
Gold stocks were slightly higher as Newmont Mining Corp. (NEM) rose 0.9% and Harmony Gold Mining Co. (HMY) gained 0.3% after bullion prices slumped to a four-month low Thursday amid a global pullback in commodities and metals prices and the continued rise in digital currencies driven by investors seeking alternatives to the bullion's traditional "store of value" play.
Gold fell 0.8% to $1,255.50 an ounce, extending its three-month decline to around 7.5%. The moves mirror recent price declines in global industrial metals, including copper, which hit a three-month low of $6,057 per ton Wednesday, and platinum, which touched a five-month low of $895.74 an ounce amid speculation of reduced demand from China.
Bitcoin surged past $15,000 on the bitsmap exchange, taking the digital currency's year-to-date gain past 1,400% as two of the biggest exchanges in the word -- CBOE Global Markets Inc. and its rival CME Group -- prepare to launch cryptocurrency futures contracts in the coming weeks.
Commodity prices have been notably active over the past week, with copper sinking to a four-month low before rebounding around 0.4% in the Asia session and global oil prices tumbling more than 3% Wednesday to a two-month low after data showed U.S. production rates rose to an all-time high of 9.71 million barrels per day in the week ended Dec. 1.
West Texas Intermediate crude contracts for February added 0.9% to $56.44, although gains were held down by both the surging U.S. production rates published by the Energy Information Administration Wednesday and figures that showed gasoline stocks rose a much larger-than-expected 6.8 million barrels in the week ended Dec. 1.
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