Wall Street opens little changed after Bank of England cuts rates

 People walk by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Wall Street.
People walk by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Wall Street. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Wall Street was little changed on Thursday after the Bank of England cut its main lending rate to a record low and revived its bond-buying program.

The BoE lowered the rate to 0.25 per cent from 0.5 per cent and said it would take "whatever action is necessary" to achieve stability in the wake of Britain's vote to leave the European Union.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose to 269,000 last week, but the trend continued to point to a healthy labor market. Analysts had forecast claims to drop by 1,000 to 265,000.

A recent set of strong economic data, including Wednesday's private sector hiring numbers, can strengthen the case for the US Federal Reserve to raise interest rates.

However, a lot hinges on the more comprehensive monthly jobs data, which is expected on Friday. "There is a little bit of order being restored in the market today, but (it) is in a wait-and-see period ahead of the jobs report," said Adam Sarhan, chief executive officer at Sarhan Capital.

Investors are positioning themselves for little chance of a Fed rate hike anytime soon, Sarhan said.

Traders have priced in a paltry 12 per cent chance of a rate hike in September and a 35 percent chance in December, according to CME Group's FedWatch tool.

At 9:31 a.m. ET (9.31 pm Singapore time) the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 30.27 points, or 0.16 per cent, at 18,385.27. The S&P 500 was up 0.85 points, or 0.04 per cent, at 2,164.64. The Nasdaq Composite was down 0.83 points, or 0.02 per cent, at 5,158.91.

Six of the 10 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, led by a 0.24 per cent gain in the consumer staples index.

The US Commerce Department will release its report on manufacturing goods at 10:00 a.m. ET. The report is likely to show that new orders for factory goods fell 1.8 per cent in June.