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US stocks climb to all-time highs shrugging off Delta concerns

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US stocks climbed to new highs
US stocks climbed to new highs. Photo: Lucas Jackson/Reuters

US stocks headed higher on Thursday, climbing to new highs ahead of key jobs data which will give a fresh read on the veracity of the economic bounceback from the coronavirus.

The S&P 500 (^GSPC), Dow (^DJI) and Nasdaq (^IXIC) all travelled almost in tandem to around 0.4% higher by the closing bell in London.

The moves came after payroll services firm ADP's job report on Wednesday, which showed the labour market recovery in the US is taking longer than expected.

"As a result, investor sentiment was mixed in yesterday's session, with the Nasdaq and S&P 500 rising while the Dow fell," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade.

"It is worth noting that Nasdaq, the tech-savvy index, closed yesterday's session at an all-time high as investors shifted to defensive stocks."

European markets continued to make small moves by the close.  

Investors are wary of talk of the European Central Bank withdrawing its monetary stimulus due to rising inflation.

BHP Group (BHP.L) was among the top fallers in the FTSE, falling 5.4% by the end of the session as it was outbid for a nickel miner active in Canada’s highly prospective Ring of Fire region by billionaire Andrew Forrest. 

Nickel is a key ingredient in the lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles and to store renewable power – and the Ring of Fire region in northern Ontario is seen among Canada’s largest untapped reserves of the metal.

The FTSE 100 (^FTSE) was trading 0.2% higher by the close. Meanwhile the DAX (^GDAXI) was flat and the CAC (^FCHI) was up 0.1%. 

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Markets in Asia saw a mixed close overnight. The Hang Seng (^HSI) was flat, the SSE Composite (000001.SS) was up 0.7%, and the Nikkei (^N225) rose 0.3%. 

Cautious moves were compounded by fears that the Chinese government would move to impose more crackdowns. Reuters reported that 11 ride-hailing firms had been summoned by the government to a meeting. 

"Another day, another clampdown," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst for Asia Pacific at OANDA. "Dip-buyers in China equities will keep dipping their toes. However, I believe we are a long way still from repricing China equities to a level that balances the government's 'enthusiasm' for common prosperity."

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