US stocks mostly gain on improving labour data

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US stocks advanced slightly on Thursday, as data showing improvement in the labour market helped bolster expectations in the economic recovery.

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks finished mostly higher on Thursday (May 27) following solid United States labour data as Republicans introduced an infrastructure package that somewhat narrowed the spending gulf with the White House.

New filings for US unemployment benefits slid lower for a fourth straight week, reaching a new pandemic low of 406,000, seasonally adjusted, the Department of Labour said.

Meanwhile, orders of big-ticket US manufactured goods fell in April, ending a streak of 11 months of increases with a 1.3 per cent drop, according to government data.

Sentiment was boosted by a US$928 billion (S$1.22 trillion) infrastructure offer from Senate Republicans, which moves them somewhat closer to President Joe Biden's latest proposal, although significant differences remain between the parties.

The Business Roundtable said it was "encouraged" by the latest development, adding that "policymakers should seize the opportunity for bold, bipartisan infrastructure legislation".

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 0.4 per cent at 34,464.64.

The broad-based S&P 500 added 0.1 per cent at 4,200.88, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index was essentially flat at 13,736.28.

Industrial companies had a good session, with Boeing winning 3.9 per cent, Honeywell International 3.1 per cent and Caterpillar 1.5 per cent.

General Motors jumped 2.9 per cent as it announced plans to restore car production at five plants affected by the semiconductor crunch.

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The company said the chip supply situation "continues to remain fluid globally".

AMC Entertainment surged 35.6 per cent following another wave of buying by retail investors on social media, reviving a phenomenon seen earlier in the year with GameStop.

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