The Bank of Japan announced that it will include longer-term government bonds in its asset purchasing program, in an attempt to achieve a 2 percent inflation target in two years’ time. Markets reacted positively as Japanese stocks closed at a gain of 2 percent.
Meanwhile, forecasts for Friday’s jobs report predict that the economy added 193,000 jobs in the month of March, less than in February when 236,000 jobs were added. At the same time, the Labor Department released a report indicated that claims for unemployment benefits increased 28,000 in March, for a seasonally adjusted rate of 385,000, though economists had expected this number to be lower at around 350,000.
The S&P 500 closed up 0.35 percent to 1,559.17, with the most notable performance coming from Best Buy (BBY), who gained almost 16 percent to close at $25.10 after announcing a major deal to feature Samsung store-in-store installations in its retail outlets.
The S&P was helped by other retail outlets like J.C. Penney (JCP), up 5.37 percent to $15.20, Staples (SPLS) up 2.45 percent to $13.39, and Macy’s (M), up 2.76 percent to $43.56. Downward pressure came, for a second day, from oil and gas stocks, Noble Energy (NBL), Newfield Exploration (NFX), and Marathon Oil (MRO) among others.
The Dow also gained 0.35 percent, closing at 14,600.97, led by Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), up 1.85 percent to $22.32, McDonald’s (MCD), up 1.40 percent to $100.64, and AT&T (T), up 1.66 percent to $37.90.
Eight of the Dow’s components come up with losses on Thursday, none over one percent, including Cisco (CSCO), International Business Machines (IBM), Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), and Merck & Co. (MRK).
The Nasdaq made a slight gain of 0.11 percent, to close at 3,222.13, with notable gains from Nissan Motor Co. (NSANY) up 5.47 percent to $19.85, and JetBlue Airways (JBLU) up 5.11 percent to $6.47. Royale Energy (ROYL) was down 7.76 percent to close at $2.02, erasing most of Wednesday’s gains.