U.S. equities gained ahead of Friday’s jobs report as investors balanced corporate results and jobless claims against the economic threat of the delta virus variant.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 rose to record highs, with Booking Holdings Inc., Fox Corp. and MercadoLibre Inc. higher after earnings. Meanwhile, the dollar was weaker, gold fell and Treasuries slid after initial unemployment claims declined for a second week.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index also notched an all-time high following more mixed corporate earnings. Drugmakers Novo Nordisk A/S and Merck KGaA gained after raising forecasts while Bayer AG plunged on margin concerns. The pound also extended a gain against the greenback after the Bank of England left its benchmark interest rate unchanged.

“This continues to be a favorable market for equities and will probably remain that way as long as the Fed stays accommodative and companies’ earnings continue to rebound,” Carter Henderson, portfolio manager at Fort Pitt Capital Group, said by phone. “That being said, the market is up 17 per cent for the year. We believe room to the upside is probably limited.”

The U.S. job market remains a key window onto the economic outlook, with the latest reports showing a much softer-than-expected ADP employment report but a record expansion for U.S. service industries. Data on new unemployment claims Thursday also suggested incremental improvement, with the focus now turning to Friday’s key non-farm payrolls numbers.

Embedded Image

“While jobless claims have been a bit erratic over the last few months, we’re starting to see less file for unemployment week over week, suggesting that more are taking jobs. And the historic low on the trade deficit front is a testament to the demand we’re seeing from consumers,” Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E*Trade Financial, said. “So while there may be supply shortages on the labor and goods front, it’s encouraging to see robust demand in the face of delta fears weighing on investors.”

Crude oil was higher after several days of losses. Bitcoin rose above US$40,000. And in Asia, equities edged up in Japan but slipped in Hong Kong and China.

Here are some key events to watch this week:

  • Reserve Bank of India monetary policy decision, briefing Friday
  • The U.S. jobs report is expected to show another robust month of hiring Friday

These are the main moves in markets:



  • The S&P 500 rose 0.6 per cent as of 4 p.m. New York time
  • The Nasdaq 100 rose 0.7 per cent
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.8 per cent
  • The MSCI World index rose 0.4 per cent



  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed
  • The euro was little changed at US$1.1836
  • The British pound rose 0.3 per cent to US$1.3931
  • The Japanese yen fell 0.2 per cent to 109.75 per dollar



  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries advanced four basis points to 1.22 per cent
  • Germany’s 10-year yield was little changed at -0.50 per cent
  • Britain’s 10-year yield advanced one basis point to 0.52 per cent



  • West Texas Intermediate crude rose 1.5 per cent to US$69.20 a barrel
  • Gold futures fell 0.4 per cent to US$1,806.70 an ounce