Stocks Open Modestly Higher; AMD Drops On Goldman Note

Stocks opened mildly higher Thursday, as mixed economic data did little to encourage a rebound from Wednesday’s afternoon slide.

The Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 inched up 0.1% while the Nasdaq climbed 0.2%.

The Dow industrials headed into Friday’s session down a fraction so far for the week. The Nasdaq is down 0.8% and the S&P 500 is off 0.4%.

In Motion: AMD, Chevron, Constellation, Yum China

Trade turned active among the Dow industrials, with Chevron (CVX) and Exxon Mobil (XOM) each trading up less than 0.5%.

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) dived more than 7% after Goldman Sachs initiated coverage on the stock with a sell rating. Goldman gave the stock a price target of 11, or 22% below its closing price on Wednesday. (An earlier version of this story incorrectly said AMD was given a hold rating.)

Intel (INTC) fell 0.3%. The chipmaker announced late Wednesday it had commenced its previously announced all-cash offer to acquire Mobileye (MBLY). Mobileye shares rose 0.8%.

Plug Power (PLUG) — a low priced stock, but a bellwether with regard to fuel cell technology — jumped at the open but quickly faded. The Latham, N.Y.-based company announced Wednesday a deal to supply forklift fuel cell and battery technology to (AMZN) distribution centers in a deal potentially worth up to $600 million.

CarMax (KMX) fell 1% and Bed, Bath & Beyond (BBBY) rose 7% fter reporting quarterly results.

Constellation Brands (STZ) surged 6% after reporting solid fourth-quarter results. The stock broke out past the 165.98 buy point of a saucer-with-handle base.

Yum China Holdings (YUMC) spiked 11% after reporting stronger-than-forecast fiscal first-quarter results late Wednesday. The operator of more than 7,200 KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell franchises in China — a November new issue — broke out past the 29.45 buy point of a double-bottom base.

March Layoffs Rise; Jobless Claims Fewer Than Expected

U.S. private employers announced 43,310 layoffs in March, according to the job cut report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas. The number was 17% above February’s tally and down 2% vs. year-ago levels. For the first quarter, employers idled 120,201 workers, down 30% from the first quarter of 2016.

Retailers have led the job cuts, but have also shown strong hiring, the report noted. Retailers shed 38,464 workers in the first quarter, while adding 121,000 new jobs.

Weekly first-time unemployment claims dropped sharply, to 234,000, in the week ended April 1, the Labor Department said. The estimate was down nearly 10% from the prior week’s claims, and well below economist forecasts for a decrease to 250,000 new applications.

Oil edged up, with West Texas Intermediate holding between $51 and $52 a barrel. Gold added a half percent to trade above $1,254 an ounce. The dollar gained ground, and the 10-year Treasury yield added 1 basis point to 2.34%.

On the international front, China’s markets ended mixed: the Shanghai Composite up 0.3%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index down 0.5%. In Japan, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 dived 1.4%, putting it down 1.7% so far in what could be a fourth straight weekly decline.

Markets were also mixed in Europe. The CAC 40 in Paris was up 0.4%, London’s FTSE 100 was down 0.4% and Frankfurt’s DAX off 0.1% in afternoon trade.

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