Dollar strengthens on fewer jobless claims US stock market rose fifth straight session on Thursday as Fed chair Powell reiterated the central bank will be patient with interest rate hikes. The S&P 500 rose 0.5% to 2596.64. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.5% to 24001.92. Nasdaq composite index added 0.4% to 6986.07. The dollar strengthened as new jobless claims fell more than expected to 216,000 last week: the live dollar index data show the ICE US Dollar index, a measure of the dollar’s strength against a basket of six rival currencies, rose 0.4% to 95.537 but is lower currently. Stock index futures indicate lower openings today. FTSE 100 leads European Index gains European stock markets added to previous session gains on Thursday. Both the GBP/USD and EUR/USDs turned lower but are rising currently. The Stoxx Europe 600 index gained 0.3%. Germany’s DAX 30 added 0.3% to 10921.59. France’s CAC 40 fared the worst sliding 0.2% and UK’s FTSE 100 ended 0.5% higher at 6942.87. Australian stocks fall despite better than expected sales data Asian stock indices are mostly higher today. Nikkei rose 1% to 20359.70 with yen little changed against the dollar. Chinese indices are higher buoyed by hopes of improving trade prospects after news China’s top trade official, Vice Premier Liu He, will visit the US for more trade talks later this month. The Shanghai Composite Index is up 0.7% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index is 0.6% higher. Australia’s All Ordinaries Index retraced lower 0.4% despite better than expected retail sales report as Australian dollar accelerated its climb against the greenback. Brent rally endures Brent futures prices are advancing today. Prices rose yesterday ninth consecutive session. Brent for March settlement closed 0.4% higher at $61.68 a barrel on Thursday.