Stocks steady on Wall Street after latest read on job market

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are showing little movement at the open on Wall Street Thursday following the latest reading on the U.S. job market. More than 1.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, still a historically high pace though down from a week earlier. Technology and consumer-focused companies are seeing early gains. U.S. stocks have recovered most of this year’s losses, although a rising numbers of American coronavirus infections threatens to derail an improving economy. Stocks in China continued their recent run and are up more than 9% this week.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story is below:

Global stocks were mostly higher on Thursday though market sentiment appeared fragile as coronavirus contagions remained high in many countries, including the U.S.

Shares in most of Europe rose after indexes in Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong and Australia closed higher. Wall Street futures were down slightly ahead of the open.

U.S. stocks have recovered most of this year’s losses, helping to push up global prices, despite rising numbers of American coronavirus infections that threaten to derail economic improvement. Investors are buying technology and other companies they expect to emerge stronger from the global downturn.

On Wednesday, Wall Street turned in its sixth gain in seven days when the benchmark S&P 500 index closed up 0.8%. Amazon, Apple and Microsoft accounted for half that rise.

Investors on Thursday will look to the latest snapshot of layoffs in the U.S., which have remained stuck at an elevated weekly pace above 1 million since the coronavirus erupted in March.

Though the weekly toll of job cuts has gradually dropped, the pace of improvement has essentially stalled as companies continue to shed workers. A resurgence of confirmed viral cases is threatening to derail what had looked like the start of an economic recovery.

Futures for the S&P 500 were down 0.1% while those for the Dow were off 0.2%.

The DAX in Frankfurt was up 1.3% to 12,659 and the CAC 40 in Paris advanced 0.1% to 4,985. The FTSE 100 in London dropped 0.6% to 6,122 after the Treasury chief warned about the depth of the recession there and more big retailers said they had to cut jobs.

Chinese markets have led the recent rise in markets in Asia. In a sign of investor enthusiasm, a maker of communications security technology, QuantumCTek Co. Ltd., rose 924% on its first day of trading on the Shanghai exchange’s board for tech companies.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.4% to close at 3,450.59 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo added 0.4% to 22,529.29. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng gained 0.3% to 26,210.16 despite U.S.-Chinese tensions over a security law imposed on the territory.

The Kospi in Seoul was 0.4% higher at 2,167.90 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 advanced 0.6% to 5,955.50.

Benchmark U.S. crude lost 15 cents to $40.75 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 28 cents on Wednesday to settle at $40.90. Brent crude, the international price benchmark, shed 7 cents to $43.22 per barrel in London. It added 21 cents the previous session to $43.29.

The dollar declined to 107.26 yen from Wednesday’s 107.31 yen. The euro was little-changed at $1.1360.