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US indices closed higher on Thursday after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin discussed the possibility of lifting some or all tariffs imposed on Chinese imports. Shares in the Capital Goods (+1.79%), Materials (+1.68%) and Transportation (+1.45%) sectors lifted the market higher. On the economic data front, initial jobless claims decreased to 213k in week ended January 12th (estimated 220k) from 216k in the previous week. Continuing claims increased to 1.737M in week ended January 5th (forecasted 1.734M) compared to 1.719M in the prior week. In other news, the Philadelphia Federal Business Outlook jumped to 17 in January (expected 9.5) from 9.1 in December. Finally, the Bloomberg consumer comfort index slightly declined to 58.1 in week ended January 13th vs. 58.5 a week earlier. The S&P 500 (2,635.96) stays above its 20d moving average (2,526.40 – positive slope) and crosses above 50d moving average (2,635.96 – negative slope).
European markets are expected to start on a positive note.