Stocks closed higher as investors analyzed economic data

US stocks ended the fourth consecutive session of gains on Thursday, boosted by stocks of everything from banks to consumer-focused companies.

The S&P 500 rose 1.5%, taking the benchmark index into its longest winning streak since March. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 2.3% and also ended Thursday with its longest winning streak since March. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 1.1%, or about 346 points.

Global markets have been volatile this week amidst a string of mixed economic data. Thursday’s report showed that the number of new applications for US unemployment benefits rose to a six-month high last week, a sign of slowing growth in the labor market.

Investors are widely anticipating weak economic data as the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates in an effort to rein in inflation. What will be key, analysts say, will be how fast or slow the data deteriorates. Many hope that central bank policy will pull inflation from its highest levels in decades without pushing the US into recession.

Kiran Ganesh, multi-asset strategist at UBS.

Investors will be watching the employment report next Friday. Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal expect US employers to add 250,000 jobs in June, down from an average of 390,000 in May.

Shares are broadly higher on Thursday, with 10 of the 11 sectors of the S&P 500 index recently marked in green.

GameStop jumped 15% after the retailer on Wednesday announced a 4-for-1 stock split.

Bed Bath & Beyond rose 22% after interim CEO Sue Gove disclosed the acquisition of 50,000 shares of the company’s stock in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Seagen shares rose 1.6% after the Wall Street Journal reported Merck & Co.

Advanced talks are underway to buy cancer biotechnology in a deal that could be worth about $40 billion or more.

The Wall Street Journal’s Deon Raboin explains how inflation is rising and why the Federal Reserve, Congress, the president, and big companies can be held accountable. Illustration: Ryan Trevis

In the bond markets, the yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 3.007% from 2.911% on Wednesday, while the yield on the two-year note settled at 3.039% from 2.961%. When the latter exceeds the first, investors have what is called a yield curve inversion: a market signal that often preceded recessions in the past.

Bond yields rise when prices fall.

In commodity markets, oil prices rebounded after falling below $100 a barrel earlier in the week on fears that a looming recession could slash demand for crude. US crude oil jumped $4.20, or 4.3%, to $102.73 a barrel, its biggest one-day percentage gain since May.

Natural gas futures rose 14% to $6,297 per million British thermal units after the US Energy Information Administration said domestic inventories were 12% lower than normal for this time of year after a much smaller weekly increase from analysts and traders. is expected.

Offshore, the pound jumped against the dollar after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was stepping down, after a 36-hour period during which more than 50 ministers and senior government aides resigned.

The UK’s benchmark FTSE 100 index rose 1.1%. While currencies can be sensitive to shifts in politics, analysts see British stocks as relatively insulated from the political turmoil in the UK, with FTSE 100 companies generating around 75% of their revenue outside Britain.

said mr. Ganesh from UPS. “With new leadership, it is still a matter of higher inflation [and] The trade relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

US stocks gained in recent sessions.


Pictures:

Michael Nagel/Bloomberg News

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index is up 1.9%, while the German DAX Index is up 2%. European markets have calmed down in recent days after the Norwegian government intervened to end a strike by oil workers that threatened to cut the country’s exports of gas by more than half, a major source of energy in the region.

Asian markets were broadly higher, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 index up 1.5% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index up 0.3%. South Korea’s Kospi rose 1.8%, as shares of Samsung Electronics helped drive gains. Samsung stock rose 3.2% even after the company indicated that its streak of record results is expected to end as economies slow and inflation rises.

—Ryan December 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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