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U.S. markets closed higher on Thursday for a fourth consecutive day despite the weaker-than-expected number of initial jobless claims. The number of initial jobless claims in the week ending January 17 in the U.S. fell by 10,000 to 307,000 from 317,000 in the previous week, missing expectations for a decline by 16,000. The previous week's figure was revised to 317,000 from 316,000. Markets were supported by the European Central Bank (ECB). President Mario Draghi said at the press conference yesterday that the central bank will launch a large scale quantitative easing program of 60 billion euro a month starting from March 2015 until September 2016 - a stimulus program well above expectations. The DOW JONES index added +1.48%, closing at 17,813.98. The S&P 500 added +1.53% with a final quote of 2,063.15 points.
Chinese stock markets continued to rise. Hong Kong's Hang Seng is trading +1.16% at 24,806.51 points. China's Shanghai Composite closed at 3,353.29 points +0.30% almost erasing the first weekly loss since November 7th after 10 weeks of consecutive gains. The longest series since 2007.
Japan's Nikkei added gains on Friday rising to a near one-month high extending the global rally, closing +1.05% with a final quote of 17,511.75. The index ended the week with a plus of 3.8 percent after the BoJ left its economic stimulus program unchanged earlier this week but lowered the consumer inflation outlook for 2015 due to falling oil prices. The Japanese preliminary Manufacturing PMI improved from a reading of 52.0 in December to 52.1 in January.
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