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NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks generally rose early Thursday, even as fresh data signaled that the labor market may be tighter than policymakers hope.

US initial jobless claims dropped to 187,000 for the week ending January 13, reaching the lowest level since September 2022 according to Labor Department data released Thursday.

Continuing claims trended lower as well.

“The initial claims data show that layoffs have moved lower in recent weeks,” said Rubeela Farooqi, chief US economist at High Frequency Economics.

Wall St slides as Treasury yields dent megacaps

But she added in a note that overall, demand for workers is cooling, “evident in slowing job growth and lower openings.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.2 percent to 37,209.83, shortly after trading started.

But the broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.4 percent to 4,757.95, while the tech-focused Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 1.0 percent to 14,998.88.

The key takeaway from the jobless claims report “is that the labor market is still not showing sudden signs of stress,” said Briefing.com.

It added that this could encourage Federal Reserve officials to maintain hawkish rhetoric when it comes to managing expectations of interest rate cuts.

Following the data, the yields on the two-year and 10-year US Treasury notes climbed. Treasury bond yields are seen as a proxy for US interest rates.

But Adam Sarhan of 50 Park Investments remains bullish about the market, noting that it “had every chance in the world to fall” in response to stronger jobs data and a bigger than expected consumer inflation jump this month.

“When a market can’t go down, and it stays just below (a) new all time high, odds are it’ll go up,” he said.

Among individual companies, Apple shares rose 2.1 percent after the company got an upgrade from Bank of America.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company shares surged 8.2 percent after beating earnings expectations.

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