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Stocks Close Higher As Nasdaq Leads Broad Gains; Jobs Report Looms

The Nasdaq composite led stocks higher Thursday, as gains spread to most of the market.

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The Nasdaq closed 1.1% higher and is still rising from support at the 50-day moving average. The S&P 500 got a bit of breathing room above its own 50-day line after adding 0.9%. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed nearly 0.8%. The Russell 2000 ended 1% higher.

Early figures showed volume rose on the Nasdaq and fell on the NYSE compared with Tuesday’s half-session-limited totals. Advancers led decliners by 14-to-5 on the NYSE and by better than 2-to-1 on the Nasdaq.

The market had only a momentary reaction to the minutes of the most recent Fed meeting, after investors saw few clues on the path of future interest-rate hikes. Indexes slipped after the 2 p.m. ET release, and soon resumed their advance.

Fed policymakers maintained their commitment to gradually raise the benchmark lending rate although they noted rising risks from trade battles.

Semiconductors led gains for technology. Dow component Intel (INTC) added 2.6%, despite a negative analyst note. On Thursday, KeyBanc cut its price target on Intel to 60 from 65, Dow Jones reported. The stock is trying to bounce back from a June swoon.

Micron Technology (MU) recovered 2% but remained below the 50-day moving average. Shares of the memory chip leader slid 5.5% Tuesday when a court in China ruled against Micron in a patent case against Taiwanese rival United Microelectronics (UMC).

In a statement Thursday, Micron said the court’s injunction to halt sales of some of its memory chips in China would hurt only about 1% of the current quarter’s sales and Micron “continues to expect revenue to be within the previously guided range of $8.0 to $8.4 billion.”

In a mixed day for breakouts, Zayo Group (ZAYO) stood out as shares made a second advance past the 38.05 buy point of an irregular base. The base has elements of a double bottom.

Zayo provides communications infrastructure, including fiber and bandwidth connectivity, co-location and cloud infrastructure to the world’s leading businesses.

Employment Report Due

On Friday before the market opens, the U.S. Labor Department will announce the employment report for June. The consensus estimate is an increase of 190,000 nonfarm jobs with the unemployment rate holding at 3.8%. New tariffs on Chinese imports are expected to go into effect at midnight, and Wall Street will be watching for retaliatory moves in the expanding trade conflict.

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