Stocks Traded Slightly Higher amid Economic Concerns

U.S. stocks traded slightly higher in the early trading on Monday, as investors digest the Federal Reserve’s downgrade of the domestic economic outlook for 2019, citing sluggish global expansion. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately rose 21.49 points, or 0.08%, to 25,767.16. The S&P 500 was up 3.72 points, or 0.13%, to 2,827.95. The Nasdaq Composite gained 23.88 points, or 0.31%, to 7,752.85.

Oil futures lost ground Thursday, as investors reacted to an unexpectedly large fall in domestic crude inventories. West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery fell 39 cents, or 0.6%, to $59.84 a barrel. May Brent crude shed 33 cents, or 0.5%, to $68.17 a barrel.

The number of laid-off workers who applied for unemployment benefits declined in mid-March to a one-month low, suggesting little deterioration in a robust labor market that’s powered the economy over the past several years. Initial jobless claims, a rough measure of layoffs, fell by 9,000 to 221,000 in the seven days ended March 16, the government said Thursday.

The Philadelphia Fed business activity index rebounded in March to a seasonally adjusted reading of 13.7 from – 4.1 in the prior month. The gain reverses most of the steep 21.1-point plunge in February.

Shares of Levi Strauss (LEVI) begin trading Thursday morning on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker LEVI. A day earlier, the company priced its IPO at $17 per share, higher than the $14 to $16 range Levi suggested earlier this month.

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