US STOCKS-S&P 500 hits record on data, ECB; focus shifts to jobs report

jueves 6 de marzo de 2014 16:34 GYT

* Three-month low in U.S. jobless claims offers hope for labor market

* Nonfarm payrolls report due Friday; job growth likely picked up

* Staples, Costco shares down after results, weigh on Nasdaq

* Indexes: Dow up 0.4 pct, S&P up 0.3 pct, Nasdaq down 0.1 pct

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK, March 6 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks mostly rose on Thursday, with the S&P 500 hitting a record after better-than-expected jobless claims data ahead of Friday's all important nonfarm payrolls report.

Boosting appetite for riskier assets, the European Central Bank decided not to take any action at its meeting on Thursday because economic and monetary conditions had not changed enough to warrant it. The euro hit its highest level against the U.S. dollar since late December.

Investors' focus shifted to Friday's employment data, due at 8:30 a.m. ET, which is likely to show job growth in the U.S. picked up enough in February to encourage the Federal Reserve to continue to scale back its monetary stimulus. But the gain was likely to be tepid given the unrelentingly harsh winter.

"There isn't much action today in terms of direction and volume on caution ahead of the jobs report tomorrow," said Ryan Detrick, analyst at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati, Ohio.   Continuación...