US SMALL/MIDCAPS-Shares advance after bullish data
NEW YORK Nov 1 (Reuters) - Mid- and small-cap stocks advanced on Thursday after both weekly jobless claims and data on growth in private-sector jobs indicated improving labor market conditions a day before the government's closely watched monthly jobs report.
Strong same-store sales data from retailers also added to the perception that conditions were improving.
Cyclical sectors were the strongest on the day, as the data indicated improving economic growth. Material and consumer discretionary names were strong for both small and mid-cap stocks.
Trading was volatile in the aftermath of the massive storm Sandy in the U.S. Northeast, which forced a historic two-day market closure at the beginning of the week. Many market participants remained unable to get to their offices or work from home because of power outages and lack of public transportation.
Mid-cap consumer discretionary stocks gained 2.5 percent while small-caps were up 1.3 percent. The group was help by some strong same-store sales data, including from Aeropostale, which climbed 9 percent to $13.02 and Chico's FAS, up 4.4 percent at $19.41.
Telecom shares were weak for a second straight day, with the sector falling sharply because of the costs of cleaning up from the storm and associated overtime. General Communications dropped 3.9 percent to $8.40 while Lumos Networks sank 0.9 percent to $7.80.
The S&P MidCap 400 index rose 22 percent while the S&P SmallCap 600 index added 0.6 percent, with gains limited by the weakness in telecom shares. The benchmark S&P 500 rose 0.9 percent.
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