Stocks May Climb To New Record Highs In Early Trading

After climbing to record closing highs in the previous session, stocks are likely to extend the upward move in early trading on Thursday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 103 points.

Early buying interest may be generated in reaction to a report from payroll processor ADP showing private sector employment jumped by much more than expected in the month of December.

ADP said employment in the private sector surged up by 250,000 jobs in December after climbing by a downwardly revised 185,000 jobs in November.

Economists had expected an increase of about 190,000 jobs, matching the job growth originally reported for the previous month.

“The job market ended the year strongly,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics. “Robust Christmas sales prompted retailers and delivery services to add to their payrolls.”

Meanwhile, a separate report from the Labor Department showed initial jobless claims unexpectedly inched higher in the week ended December 30th.

The report said initial jobless claims edged up to 250,000, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 247,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to drop to 240,000 from the 245,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Overall trading activity may be somewhat subdued, however, with some traders likely to stay on the sidelines ahead of the release of the Labor Department’s more closely watched monthly jobs report on Friday.

The report is expected to show an increase of about 190,000 jobs in December following the jump of 228,000 jobs in November. The unemployment rate is expected to hold at 4.1 percent.

Stocks moved mostly higher during trading on Wednesday, adding to the gains posted on Tuesday. With the continued upward move on the day, the major averages climbed to new record closing highs.

The major averages finished the day firmly in positive territory. The Dow rose 98.67 points or 0.4 percent to 24,922.68, the Nasdaq advanced 58.63 points or 0.8 percent to 7,065.53 and the S&P 500 climbed 17.25 points or 0.6 percent to 2,713.06.

In overseas trading, most stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region saw further upside during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index surged up by 3.3 percent in its first trading day of the new year, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed by 0.6 percent.

The major European markets have also moved higher on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has edged up by…

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