Financial markets were given an array of fresh economic data to digest on Thursday morning. The combined effect was a quiet morning of relatively steady trading.
Meanwhile, platinum also gained 0.6% to trade at $1,005/oz, a four-month high. Palladium lost 0.8% to fall just below $1,100/oz.
Important economic reports released on Thursday morning included first-time jobless claims, U.S. housing data, and the Philadelphia Federal Reserve's manufacturing index.
Weekly jobless claims came in at their lowest in more than four decades. The Department of Labor reported that initial filings for unemployment benefits sank by 41,000 last week to 220,000 new claims.
This was also the 150th consecutive week of sub-300,000 filings, which is seen as an indicator of a robust labor market.
The Department of Commerce also publicized its most recent data on the housing market on Thursday morning. Housing starts tumbled more than 8% during December.
However, overall homebuilding nudged 2.4% higher year-on-year in 2017. The same report showed new building permits rose by 4.7% last year.
The Philly Fed manufacturing survey for January fell to a five-month low. Nonetheless, the reading of 22.2 still represents fairly strong conditions for the sector. U.S. manufacturing in the region has remained in expansion for the past 18 months.
China reported impressive economic growth for 2017 this morning, as well. The country's annual GDP grew by 6.9% during the year, its fastest pace in seven years.
Accelerating expansion of the Chinese economy helped industrial metals rally on the expectation of greater demand. Commodities in general got a boost from the dollar slipping overnight. WTI crude prices briefly moved back above $64/bbl before edging 0.2% lower.
The DXY dollar index opened flat at 90.55 on Thursday. This lifted the euro 0.5% while the pound sterling inched upward to nearly $1.39, a 19-month high.
European equities gave up some of their earlier gains. Germany's DAX index advanced 0.4% while the FTSE 100 in London lost almost 0.5%. Stocks on Wall St were largely unchanged at the opening bell following another mixed performance for Asian markets.
Lawmakers in the U.S. are expected to vote on another short-term continuing resolution to keep the government funded for another few weeks. If the last CR expires tomorrow with no new deal, it would trigger a government shutdown.
Many members of Congress are calling for at least some parts of the government, such as the military, to be properly funded through the rest of the fiscal year rather than yet another stopgap measure.
Markets seem unconvinced such a compromise is forthcoming. Bonds fell again, pushing the 10-year T-note yield above 2.60% for the first time since March.
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