The market swung between gains and losses on Thursday, as worse-than-expected jobless claims data disappointed investors but tech shares tried to rebound from recent losses.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.20%, around 50 points, on Thursday, while the S&P 500 rose 0.30% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.37%.
Stocks initially fell after U.S. weekly jobless claims came in worse than expected: 870,000 more people filed for first-time unemployment benefits for the week ending September 19, higher than the 850,000 forecast by economists.
Continuing claims decreased by 167,000 to 12.6 million: Despite the recent improvement, that level remains much higher compared to previous recessions.
Shares of Big Tech stocks, which have been the source of the selloff in recent weeks, rebounded somewhat on Thursday: Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Google-parent Alphabet all moved higher.
Shares of Apple rose by nearly 3%, reversing some of its losses this week: The stock fell into bear market territory after plunging another 4% on Wednesday, down more than 20% from its record close on September 1.
What To Watch For
The market’s losses in September come amid ongoing uncertainty over the next round of fiscal stimulus from Congress. Lawmakers on both sides remain stuck in a stalemate, struggling to agree on the size and provisions of the next coronavirus stimulus bill. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told Congress on Wednesday that further fiscal stimulus would be crucial if the U.S. economic recovery is to continue, saying that there’s still “a long way to go.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that Democrats are preparing a new, smaller relief package worth around $2.4 trillion—but Republicans have advocated for a bill costing no more than $1.5 trillion. If Republicans turn down Democrats’ latest offer, the House could vote on the new proposal next week even without GOP support.
Thursday’s session follows more losses on Wednesday, as tech stocks again came under pressure and investors remained wary about a resurgence in coronavirus cases. Investors are growing increasingly concerned about a recent uptick in coronavirus cases across Europe and the United States: The U.K. has gone back into lockdown, while France and Spain have seen an alarming rise in new infections.
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