Stocks gain as earnings top forecasts

The U.S. stock market fluctuated as strong corporate earnings results and an accommodative stance by the European Central Bank were offset by a larger-than-expected increase in initial jobless claims.

The S&P 500 ended on Thursday down 8.79 points, or 0.20%, to 4367.48. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 25.35 points, or 0.07%, to 34823.35. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 52.65 points, or 0.36%, to 14684.60.

The U.S. Treasury rallied on Thursday, sending the yield on the 10-year note back down to around 1.26% following an unexpected rise in weekly jobless benefit claims.

European stocks advanced, turning positive for the week, on strong earnings and as the European Central Bank reassured investors that it won’t withdraw support too quickly.

Stoxx 600 Europe Index gained 0.56%, DAX increased by 0.60%%, and CAC 40 climbed 0.26%, while FTSE 100 dropped by 0.43%.

Bund futures held gains during ECB President Lagarde’s post-meeting press conference. Peripheral bonds in Europe outperformed as rate-hike expectations were pushed back slightly following earlier ECB statement.

Asian equities fell, led by China, as investors continue to assess the economic impact of the spread of the delta variant.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell as much as 0.4% amid a broad-based selloff of defensive and cyclical names, including in consumer staples and financials. Mainland China and Hong Kong stocks declined, as investors sold health care and consumer staples shares as a benign liquidity environment is seen shifting capital to growth stocks.

Oil prices kept increasing on Thursday as improved risk appetite provided support.

Oil prices are rebounding from a fall of about 7 per cent on Monday, after a deal by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, and its non-member allies such as Russia, together known as OPEC+, to boost supply by 400,000 barrels per day from August through to December.

The sell-off was exacerbated by fears that a rise in cases of the Delta variant of the coronavirus in major markets such as the United States, Britain and Japan would affect demand.

Brent crude futures price was $73.79 a barrel on Thursday, up 2.16%. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures stood at $71.91 up 2.29%.