US stocks advance as labor market continues to recover

The S&P 500 hit another record as Macy’s and Kohl’s posted strong earnings and unemployment data showed the labor market is continuing to recover. The S&P 500 gained 0.34% to 4704.54. The Dow Jones Industrial Average decreased 0.17% falling to 35870.95 while the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.45% at 15993.71. The 10- and 30-year U.S. Treasury yields posted their biggest two-day drops in over a week amid a continued rally in government bonds, as traders continued to focus on the impact that persistent inflation may take on the U.S. economy.

European stocks declined the most in a month after six consecutive days of gains as a jump in Covid-19 cases kept risk appetite muted and as traders prepared for Friday’s major options expiration. Stoxx 600 Europe Index lost 0.46% on Thursday, DAX declined by 0.18%, and CAC 40 dropped 0.21%, while FTSE 100 was down 0.48%. Covid cases continue to surge in Europe, bull flattening German and Italian curves amid haven demand and sending stocks lower, while money markets push back the first 10bps ECB rate hike to February 2023.

Asian stocks fell for a third day, set for their first weekly loss this month, as Alibaba Group headed for a record drop amid concerns about intensifying competition and dwindling consumer spending in China.

Oil prices closed higher on Thursday, recovering from overnight trading where prices touched six-week lows following reports that China is releasing oil from its strategic reserves. Brent crude futures closed at $81.24 a barrel on Thursday, up 1.20%. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures stood at $79.01, up 0.83%.