U.S. stock indices ended Thursday session with small gains. Stocks followed oil prices throughout trading hours.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 79.92 points, or 0.5%, to 16,416.58. The S&P 500 rose 2.92 points, or 0.2%, to 1,915.45. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 5.32 points, or 0.1%, to 4,509.56.
The U.S. Labor Department reported that the number of initial jobless claims rose by 8,000 to 285,000 in the week ending January 30. The reading exceeded expectations for growth to 280,000. The number of claims had remained below 300,000 for 48 weeks in a row (the longest series since 1970s).
Meanwhile U.S. factory orders fell sharply in December accelerating the pace of declines compared to the previous month. Data showed that factory orders fell by 2.9% in December to $456.5 billion. This was the biggest decline since December 2014. In 2015 on the whole factory orders fell by 6.6%.
This morning in Asia Hong Kong Hang Seng rose 0.84%, or 161.64, to 19,344.73. China Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.15%, or 4.20, to 2,776.83. The Nikkei fell 2.15%, or 366.48, to 16,678.51.
Asian stock indices traded mixed amid speculation that the Federal Reserve will delay the next rate hike. Activity on Chinese stock markets declined as market participants prepared for holiday.