U.S. Stocks Advance as Jobless Claims Rise

U.S. stocks rose Thursday, lifted by gains across the S&P 500.

The broad index rose 1.1%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.8%, or about 240 points. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index gained 1.7%. Ten of the S&P 500’s 11 sectors were recently in the green.

Global markets have been volatile this week amid a streak of mixed economic data. A report Thursday showed the number of new applications for U.S. unemployment benefits rose to a six-month high last week, a sign that growth in the labor market is slowing down.

Investors widely expect economic data to weaken as the Federal Reserve continues raising interest rates in an effort to rein in inflation. What will be key, analysts say, is how quickly or slowly the data worsen. Many are hoping that central bank policy will pull inflation back from multidecade highs without tipping the U.S. into recession.

“What the market is wanting to see is that there is some cooling in the labor market, but it’s not going to want to see a crash,” said

Kiran Ganesh,

a multiasset strategist at


Investors will next watch for Friday’s employment report. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal expect U.S. employers to have added 250,000 jobs in June, down from a rate of 390,000 in May.

WSJ’s Dion Rabouin breaks down how inflation rises and why the Federal Reserve, Congress, the president and large corporations can all be held accountable. Illustration: Ryan Trefes

Stocks rose broadly Thursday, with everything from energy shares to bank stocks to shares of consumer-focused companies posting gains.


jumped 8.5% after the retailer on Wednesday declared a 4-for-1 stock split.

Bed Bath & Beyond

rose 22% after Interim Chief Executive Sue Gove disclosed the acquisition of 50,000 shares of the company’s stock in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Shares of


rose 2.6% after The Wall Street Journal reported

Merck & Co.

is in advanced talks to buy the cancer biotech in a deal that could be worth roughly $40 billion or more. Merck shares added 0.2%.

In bond markets, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was recently at 2.997%, up from 2.911% on Wednesday. Bond yields rise when prices fall. The average interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage fell slightly from a week earlier to 5.3%.

In commodity markets, oil prices rebounded after dropping below $100 a barrel earlier in the week on fears that a looming recession will reduce demand for crude. U.S. crude was recently up about 5.8% to $104.28 a barrel.

Natural gas futures shot up 13% to $6.20 per million British thermal units after the U.S. Energy Information Administration said that domestic stockpiles were more than 12% lower than normal for this time of year after a weekly build that was significantly smaller than analysts and traders had expected.

Overseas, the British pound rose 0.7% against the dollar after U.K. Prime Minister

Boris Johnson

stepped down, following a 36-hour period in which more than 50 ministers and senior government aides resigned. The pound remains near its weakest level in years and is down more than 11% against the dollar in 2022.

The U.K.’s benchmark FTSE 100 index gained 1.2%. While currencies can be sensitive to shifts in politics, analysts see British shares as relatively insulated from the U.K.’s political turmoil, since FTSE 100 companies generate about 75% of their revenues outside Britain.

“It doesn’t fundamentally change the path the U.K. is on,” said Mr. Ganesh of UBS. “With new leadership, it’s still going to be about higher inflation [and] the U.K.’s trade relationship with the European Union.”

U.S. stocks have notched gains in recent sessions.


Michael Nagle/Bloomberg News

The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 1.8%, while Germany’s DAX index rose 1.9%. European markets have calmed in recent days after the Norwegian government intervened to end an oil workers’ strike that threatened to more than halve the country’s gas exports, a key source of energy for the region.  

Asian markets broadly gained, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 up 1.5% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng up 0.3%. South Korea’s Kospi rose 1.8%, with

Samsung Electronics

shares helping drive gains. Samsung’s stock rose 3.2% even after the company suggested its string of record results is expected to end as economies slow and inflation rises.

—Ryan Dezember contributed to this article.

Write to Chelsey Dulaney at chelsey.dulaney@wsj.com and Akane Otani at akane.otani@wsj.com

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