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US markets closed mostly higher on Thursday

The US markets closed mostly higher on Thursday, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite logging modest gains following better-than-expected quarterly results, which helped to offset losses in telecom and energy stocks. Stocks muted moves come a day after the Federal Reserve decided to leave interest rates unchanged but hinted at a possible rate rise as soon as September. On the economy front, the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits last week stretching from July 17 to July 23 rose by 14,000 to 266,000 but remained extremely low, reflecting a still-growing economy in which companies are hiring at a steady clip. Claims are sometimes elevated in July, a time of the year when automakers traditionally shut plants to retool and many workers are eligible for temporary benefits. In recent years, however, such shutdowns have become less regular because of soaring auto sales. The claims have been below the key 300,000 benchmark for 73 weeks and counting - a feat last duplicated in the early 1970s. The nation's official unemployment is also a tick below 5%. The average of new jobless claims over the past month slipped by 1,000 and stood at 256,500. Continuing jobless claims increased by 7,000 to 2.14 million in the week ended July 16.

Meanwhile, the US advance June goods trade deficit came in at $63.3 billion, widening from the revised $61.1 billion trade gap reported a month earlier. Both import and exports grew in June with imports rising faster. Imports rose $3.3 billion to $183.5 billion while exports rose $1.1 billion to $120.2 billion. The advanced report excludes services, a category that tends to work in the US's favor.

The Nasdaq added 15.17 points or 0.30 percent to 5,154.98, S&P 500 gained 3.48 points or 0.16 percent to 2,170.06, while Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 15.82 points or 0.09 percent to 18,456.35.

The Indian ADRs closed mostly in red; Dr. Reddy's Lab was down 0.21%, HDFC Bank was down 0.13% and Tata Motors was down 0.13%. On the other hand, Wipro was up 0.08% and ICICI Bank was up 0.03%. 

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