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Stocks jump ahead of Friday jobs report

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Stocks jump ahead of Friday jobs report

Stocks were trading higher Thursday in the last day of a holiday-shortened week as investors anticipate Friday’s March employment report.635635655749445323-GTY-466726390

Economists are expecting the government to report Friday that 248,000 jobs were created in March, according to Action Economics. But the markets will be closed for Good Friday and won’t be able to react to the report until Monday. In afternoon trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.3% and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 0.4%. The Nasdaq composite index gained 0.2%.

Overseas, Asian stock markets were higher after weak data from major economies boosted hopes for stimulus and a slow pace for U.S. interest rate hikes. China and Japan this week reported dour industrial figures, adding to pressure on leaders to launch new stimulus. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index surged 1.5% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.8%. The Shanghai Composite gained 0.4%.

European shares were mixed Thursday as Britain’s FTSE 100 index was up 0.4% and Germany’s DAX index fell 0.3%. Wall Street opened the second quarter on a negative note as disappointing economic news sent stocks lower Wednesday. The Dow fell 77.94 to 17,698.18 and the S&P 500 dropped 8.20 to 2059.69.

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