Wall Street ahead in early trading

US markets opened tentatively higher, despite a rise in jobless claims, while President Trump is now expected to turn his attention to welfare reforms.

The Dow was recently 0.3% higher at 24,801.09, the S&P 500 was up 0.14% at 2,683.13 and the tech-focused Nasdaq added 0.03% to reach 6,963.11.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 was recently up 0.65% at 7,574.73, the DAX was indifferent at 13,070.28 and the CAC 40 was slightly ahead at 5,356.53.

COMMODITIES

WTI crude was 0.64% lower at $57.72 per barrel and Brent was down 0.37% at $64.32 per barrel.

Gold was also flagging at $1,268.1 an ounce, silver was 0.43% softer at $16.2 an ounce, with copper little changed.

ECONOMIC NEWS

The Federal Housing Finance Agency's House Price Index showed a 0.5% increase in US house prices in October.

US initial claims in the week ending December 16 were 245,000, an increase of 20,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 225,000, the Department of Labor said today.

Results from the December Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey suggest that regional manufacturing conditions continued to improve.

The diffusion index for current general activity increased from a reading of 22.7 in November to 26.2 this month.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 3.2% in the third quarter of 2017, compared to a second quarter increase of 3.1%.

Meanwhile, the price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.7% in Q3, compared with an increase of 0.9% in Q2.