US STOCKS-Wall St gains as oil recovery eclipses record weekly jobless claims


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    * Initial unemployment claims rose to 6.65 mln last week 
    * Exxon, Chevron top gainers on Dow 
    * Energy index biggest pct gainer among major sectors
    * Indexes up: Dow 0.39%, S&P 0.72%, Nasdaq 0.56%

 (Updates to open)
    By Medha Singh and Uday Sampath Kumar
    April 2 (Reuters) - Wall Street bounced on Thursday as a
recovery in oil prices outweighed the shock of weekly jobless
claims soaring past 6 million.
    Initial claims for unemployment benefits last week exceeded
the top end of analysts' estimates at 5.25 million, and U.S.
President Donald Trump has warned of more economic pain as more
states enforce sweeping stay-at-home orders to curtail the
coronavirus pandemic.*:nAQN006QXN
    "The U.S. labor market has never experienced such a
disruption," said Mike Loewengart, managing director of
investment strategy at E*TRADE Financial.
    "Most will likely say the United States is sitting squarely
in a recession right now, but the real question at hand is for
how long and to what extent."
    The Dow Jones  .DJI  and S&P 500  .SPX , still fresh from
their worst opening quarters in history, were lifted by a surge
in oil prices as Saudi Arabia and Russia signaled they were
ready to co-operate to help stabilize the market.*:nL8N2BQ36Q
    The energy index  .SPNY , which has lost half its value this
year partly due to their price war, jumped 13% with Exxon Mobil
Corp  XOM.N  and Chevron Corp  CVX.N  posting the biggest gains
among Dow components.
    But analysts predict further declines for U.S. equity
markets as more companies announce production cuts and withdraw
financial forecasts ahead of the earnings season.
    Boeing Co  BA.N , once a symbol of American industrialism, 
said on Thursday it would offer buyout and early retirement
packages to employees, as a near collapse in business activity
crushes liquidity and sparks mass staff furloughs.*:nL1N2BQ07O
    "We're going to be digesting this for awhile and until the
data becomes less worse, we're going to have lumpiness in
trading around these shock-and-awe numbers," said Richard
Steinberg, chief market strategist at Colony Group, in Florida.
    At 10:13 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average  .DJI 
was up 81.95 points, or 0.39%, at 21,025.46, while the S&P 500
 .SPX  was up 17.83 points, or 0.72%, at 2,488.33. The Nasdaq
Composite  .IXIC  was up 41.58 points, or 0.56%, at 7,402.16.
    Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc  WBA.O  fell 6% after the
drugstore retailer reported a steep decline in U.S same-store
sales in the last week of March.  L4N2BQ32Z 
    Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.53-to-1 ratio
on the NYSE and by a 1.80-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
    The S&P index recorded no new 52-week high and seven new
lows, while the Nasdaq recorded two new highs and 47 new lows.

 (Reporting by Medha Singh and Uday Sampath in Bengaluru;
Editing by Sagarika Jaisinghani and Arun Koyyur)
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