U.S. stocks were off to a good start following a better-than-expected initial jobless claims count of 255,000, Briefing.com had estimated 269,000 would file for jobless claims. Continuing claims also fell, to 2.158 million from 2.208 million.
The consumer price index, or CPI, decreased 0.2 percent for September. Declines in energy and food prices contributed to the fall. Apparel prices dropped 0.3 percent in September from August and were down 1.4 percent from last year. The biggest drop in the group was women’s dresses, which declined 2.9 percent, and the biggest gainer was men’s shirts and sweaters, which jumped 8.7 percent.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 21 points to 16,945, the S&P 500 added 5 points to trade at 2,000 and the Nasdaq climbed 15 points to 4,798.
After diving 10 percent on Wednesday, shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. continued to slip slightly this morning, dipping 0.8 percent to $59.56.
The Asia-Pacific markets rallied on the belief that the Federal Reserve will delay increasing interest rates and that the region’s own banks will put through new policy stimulus efforts. Japan’s Nikkei increased 1.2 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed up 2 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite rose 2.3 percent.
European officials also want new measures to be taken to boost the economy, leading all of the major indices to trade higher. The UK FTSE rose 1.1 percent, the French CAC increased 1.2 percent with the automakers leading the way and the German DAX jumped 1.4 percent.
All was good except for Burberry Group. Its shares plunged by as much as 12 percent to 12.46 pounds, or $19.12 at today’s exchange rate, after the luxury brand delivered an understated, but tasteful profit warning. Sales fell by 6 percent in Asia and the company said it faced an “increasingly challenging environment for luxury, particularly Chinese customers.” Burberry managed to dance around a full-fledged profit warning by saying it expects full-year profits to be “broadly in line.” The company is cutting costs in the meantime and chief executive officer Christopher Bailey is no exception.
Fast-fashion house Hennes & Mauritz said that its September sales increased 12 percent including VAT. Sales excluding VAT for the nine months ending in August increased 22 percent. The company said sales in September picked up once the unusually warm weather lifted. Many of H&M’s major markets got hit with very warm weather in August that kept shoppers from buying new fall clothes. The stock slid slightly to 313 Swedish krona, or $38.21 in today’s exchange rate.