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US rallies ahead of non-farm payroll figures tomorrow

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Wall Street rallied as weekly jobless claims fell to 268,000, much lower than the forecast 285,000.

It was a counter to the much weaker than expected private jobs report yesterday and encouraged investors ahead of tomorrow’s non-farm payrolls, which come out when virtually all markets are shut.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 95 points to 17,793, while the Nasdaq and S&P500 were also higher.

Pharma giant UnitedHealth led the way, rising more than 1.3% to US$117 as analysts raised their price target to US$130-140 from US$120.

Merck and its partner, NewLink Genetics’, new Ebola vaccine is both safe and causes antibody response. Shares rose in Merck 0.7% to US$57.

Fellow pharma company Pfizer has halted vaccine sales in China after failing to retain a licence for Prevenar. Shares nudged higher despite the news to U$34.

Fast food giant McDonalds was the biggest faller as it announced it is to raise its hourly pay for 90,000 workers. Shares slipped 0.4% to $95.

Computer parts provider Micron’s shares did well on better than expected margins in the second quarter.

Coffee giant Starbucks was climbed more than 1% to US$94 after a target price hike to US$112 from US$99 by broker Bernstein. 

Back home, the FTSE 100 was up 25 points to 6,834 led by high street brand Marks & Spencer (LON:MKS). The retailer posted better than expected results for the fourth quarter leading to share price rise of 5%.


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