Stocks edge higher as eyes on stimulus; oil dips

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks were higher and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe was set for a ninth day of gains on Thursday as investors were optimistic about more fiscal stimulus, while oil prices slipped.

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Investors digested a dovish Federal Reserve outlook. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell reassured investors on Wednesday that interest rates will remain low for some time to spur the economy and jobs growth, but provided no new insights on monetary policy.

“There is room for the market to take a breather but usually there is some sort of catalyst that gets that going,” said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager at Globalt Investments in Atlanta. “And right now the news isn’t providing you that – fiscal stimulus, monetary stimulus, coronavirus information and earnings are all pretty positive.”

U.S.-listed shares of cannabis companies reversed premarket gains to drop sharply after the sector caught the attention of Reddit-inspired retail investors this week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 8.7 points, or 0.03%, to 31,446.5, the S&P 500 gained 7.67 points, or 0.20%, to 3,917.55 and the Nasdaq Composite added 75.88 points, or 0.54%, to 14,048.42.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.42% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.29%.

In the cryptocurrency market, bitcoin hit another record of $48,481.45, as it continues its march toward the $50,000 mark. It was last up 6.3% at $47,685.

The dollar slipped on Thursday in quiet trading, weighed down by slightly weaker-than-expected U.S. jobless claims data that followed tepid inflation numbers and the dovish message from the Fed the previous session.

The dollar index fell 0.003%, with the euro up 0.07% to $1.2125.

Benchmark U.S. Treasury yields held below recent highs. Investors continued to absorb disappointing inflation data from the previous day.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 1/32 in price to yield 1.1549%, from 1.152% late on Wednesday.

Oil prices dipped after recent strong gains. Brent crude fell 20 cents, or 0.3%, to $61.27 a barrel by 1453 GMT and U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude lost 19 cents, or 0.3%, to $58.49.

Spot gold dropped 0.4% to $1,835.81 an ounce.

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