U.S. stocks steady near record levels, ECB supports; Dow Jones up 0.06%

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Investing.com -

Investing.com - U.S. stocks opened steady on Thursday, hovering close to Wednesday's record levels despite weak U.S. jobless claims data as a rate cut by the European Central Bank supported global equitiy markets and as investors turned to U.S. nonfarm payrolls data due on Friday.

During early U.S. trade, the Dow 30 inched 0.06% higher, the S&P 500 eased up 0.01%, while the NASDAQ Composite dipped 0.05%.

The U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending May 31 increased by 8,000 to 312,000 from the previous week's revised total of 304,000. Analysts had expected jobless claims to rise by 6,000 to 310,000 last week.

Market participants now turned their attention to Friday's report on U.S. nonfarm payrolls for further indications on the strength of the U.S. job market after a data on Wednesday showed that private sector employment rose less than expected last month.

Global equities found support after the ECB lowered its benchmark interest rate to a record-low 0.15% from 0.25% and said it will be conducting a series of Targeted Longer Term Refinancing Operations (TLTROs) to support lending in the euro zone.

Sprint (NYSE:S) shares jumped 1.49 % amid reports the telecom company is nearing an agreement on the price, capital structure and termination fee of an acquisition for T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) that could value the wireless carrier at almost $40 a share.

T-Mobile US tumbled 1.09% following the news.

In the tech sector, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) rose 0.32% even as China's government took another step against the company by telling officials in one province not to use Windows 8 software. The move was part of an ongoing dispute with the U.S. over spying and hacking allegations.

Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) added to gains, up 0.67%, despite reports India could soon allow global online retailers to sell their own products in the country as early as next month, removing restrictions that have held back competition in one of the world's biggest retail markets.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were higher. The DJ Euro Stoxx 50 jumped 1.17%, France's CAC 40 surged 1.31%, Germany's DAX rose 0.35%, while Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.11%.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 0.18%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 edged up 0.08%.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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