US stocks open higher after jobless claims report; S&P 500 and Nasdaq on track

US stocks open higher after jobless claims report
Stocks opened higher on Thursday, shaking off a higher jobless claims number, and rising with world equity markets on comments from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We seem to be reacting now more to Europe and Russia than anything happening here,” said Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group. “Our economy is better but it’s still mixed.”

European shares pared their losses and turned higher on Thursday with the easing of geopolitical tensions in Ukraine helping investor sentiment. But flat GDP growth across the Eurozone, below expectations, and the first contraction in over a year of Germany’s economy still signaled underlying stress.

“It’s clear that the German market has suffered so much from what is going on in Russia,” Boockvar said.

On Thursday morning, the Department of Labor reported an increase to 311,000 in claims for unemployment benefits, above forecasts of 295,000, from 289,000 in the previous week.