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Asia Morning: Nasdaq 100 Index Up 4.2% YTD

On Thursday U.S. stocks closed higher, as the Nasdaq 100 (+117 points or 1.3% to 9,101) ended at a level 4.2% higher as compared to end-2019...

Source: GAIN Capital, TradingView

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 211 points (+0.9%) to 23,875, and the S&P 500 added 32 points (+1.2%) to 2,881.

Insurance (+3.49%), Consumer Services (+3.17%) and Commercial & Professional Services (+2.61%) sectors led the market higher.

Fortinet (FTNT +21.2%), Lincoln National (LNC +16.3%), PayPal (PYPL +14.0%) and Ameriprise Financial (AMP +13.5%) were top gainers.

Biotech firm Moderna (MRNA +8.7%) surged after reporting positive development of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine.

On the technical side, about 25.0% (24.80% in the prior session) of stocks in the S&P 500 Index were trading above their 200-day moving average, and 46.5% (57.4% in the prior session) were above their 20-day moving average.

The U.S. Labor Department reported that Initial Jobless Claims dropped to 3.169 million for the week ended May 2 (3.000 million expected) from 3.846 million in the prior week.

Later today, the official U.S. Jobs Report for April will be released, and it is widely expected that the economy cut a record 21.653 million Nonfarm Payrolls with the jobless rate surging to 16.0%.

European stocks were broadly higher, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index gaining 1.1%. Both Germany's DAX and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 increased 1.4%, and France's CAC was up 1.5%.

U.S. Treasury prices stabilized, as the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield edged down to 0.630% from 0.713% Wednesday. Meanwhile, the two-year Treasury bill yield settled at a record low of 0.129%.

Spot gold price rebounded 19 dollars or 1.8% to $1,715 an ounce.

Saudi Arabia's state oil giant Aramco raised its June crude-oil contract prices. However, oil prices pared early gains to end lower. U.S. WTI crude oil futures (June) declined 1.8% to $23.55 a barrel, and Brent crude oil futures were down 0.9% to $29.46 a barrel. 

On the forex front, the ICE U.S. Dollar Index retreated 0.4% on day to 99.84, snapping a three-day rally, ahead of the closely watched U.S. nonfarm payrolls due later today.

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