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U.S. stocks closed higher yesterday on the back of a rally in the technology sector, shares of Apple surged after an upgrade of the stock, helping to propel the Dow.  The market’s strong upside momentum comes a day after the Federal Reserve signaled that it was unlikely to raise interest rates this year amid worries over slowing economic growth.


Initial jobless claims, a rough measure of layoffs, fell by 9,000 to 221,000 in the seven days ended March 16th.  The number of laid-off workers who applied for unemployment benefits declined in mid-March to a one-month low, suggesting little deterioration in a robust labor market that’s powered the economy over the past several years.


 A survey of economic conditions in the U.S. rose in February for the first time in five months, perhaps a sign growth is poised to pick up a bit after a very slow start early in the year.


The leading economic index increased 0.2% in February, the Conference Board said Thursday. It’s the first uptick since September.  The improved reading in February was spurred by higher stock prices, lower interest rates and improved access to credit.


Levi Strauss is a publicly-traded company again, with shares opening at $22.22, 31% above the anticipated IPO price and reaching as high as 35% above the IPO price within minutes. The New York Stock Exchange helped celebrate the denim icon's first trading day by suspending its "no jeans" policy on the trading floor, with traders wearing Levi's instead of suits.  The $22 stock price gives the company a valuation of nearly $7 Billion.
 
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I'm Tyler Simones

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