S&P 500 Index opens modestly higher after two-day slump, eyes on Powell

  • Wall Street's main indexes trade flat on Thursday.
  • Energy shares post strong gains on surging crude oil prices.
  • Investors await FOMC Chairman Jerome Powell's speech at 1705 GMT.

Major equity indexes suffered heavy losses in the previous two sessions but opened modestly higher on Thursday with investors staying on the sidelines ahead of FOMC Chairman Jerome Powell's speech at 1705 GMT.

As of writing, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.3% on the day at 31,375, the S&P 500 Index was rising 0.25% at 3,830 and the Nasdaq Composite was gaining 0.4% at 12,740.

Among the 11 major S&P 500 sectors, the Energy Index is up more than 1% supported by a 2% increase in crude oil prices. On the other hand, the defensive Utilities Index is posting small losses after the opening bell.

Earlier in the day, the data from the US showed that the weekly Initial Jobless Claims rose to 745,000 but came in better than the market expectation of 750,000. Additionally, the Unit Labor Costs in the fourth quarter increased by 4%. Powell will be delivering his remarks on the state of the US economy at the Wall Street Journal jobs summit later in the session.

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