Thanks to a lowered interest rate from the European Central Bank (ECB) and an unexpected fall in U.S. jobless claims, United States stocks were up on Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.3 percent, gaining 38.78 points. Standard and Poor 500 stocks were traded 8.4 percent above the average of the last 30 days.
American jobless claims were at their lowest point in the last five years. Applications for unemployment insurance were down to 324,000, the lowest number since January 2008. Economists were predicting a number over 340,000. Productivity of U.S workers was also up.
The ECB’s lowering of the main refinancing rate ‒ from 0.75 percent down to 0.5 percent ‒ was predicted by many economists in a News Survey.
According to Michael Strauss, chief investment strategist at Commonfund Group, the ECB’s lowered interest rate was “the minimum it needed to do.” He also told Bloomberg that the new rate was an acknowledgement that there is “economic deterioration in the euro zone,” but that the ECB is still “way behind the curve.”
Among the companies exceeding expectations were Facebook, General Motors, MetLife, Prudential and Yelp Inc.
Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has been attempting to increase income from mobile advertising, and the move appears to be paying off. Facebook was up 3.3 percent, to $28.34. On Wednesday, Facebook reported that they had just missed earnings expectations for last quarter.
General Motors beat rival Ford Motor Company, as well as earnings estimates, as it gained 4.8 percent up to $31.63. GM reached its highest level since 2011, thanks to cost controls and posting a smaller than expected loss in Europe.
MetLife was also up, increasing to 3.2 percent and $39.63, despite slow expansion in the company’s main markets. Chief Executive Officer Steven Kandarian is looking to expand outside of the U.S. and increase MetLife’s customer base to faster-growing economies around the world.
Prudential, the second-biggest life insurance company in the U.S. (behind MetLife), also beat estimates by rising 6.2% to $62.95.
Thanks to an increase in local advertising and stepping into new markets, consumer-review website Yelp Inc. gained 21 percent to $30.55.