Dow slips 361 points, Nasdaq hits record as tech rally fights against virus fears

  • US equities erased early gains and closed mixed on Thursday as fears of spiking virus cases overshadowed better-than-expected jobless claims data.
  • Unemployment-insurance claims last week declined to 1.3 million, the Labor Department announced on Thursday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected a reading of 1.38 million.
  • Walgreens shares tanked after the company reported a $1.7 billion third-quarter loss and froze its stock buyback program.
  • Tech giants rallied and pushed the Nasdaq composite to another record close.
  • Oil traded lower, with West Texas Intermediate crude falling as much as 4%, to $39.27 per barrel.
  • Watch major indexes update live here.

Major US indexes closed mixed on Thursday after traders looked past positive jobless claims data and grew more concerned about the US’s coronavirus resurgence.

US virus cases surpassed 3 million on Wednesday, prompting new concerns of a longer-than-expected recession. Stocks turned lower after Florida, the nation’s virus hotspot, reported a record in COVID hospitalizations. Coronavirus deaths also jumped a record amount.

Soaring tech names including Apple, Microsoft, and Google-parent Alphabet boosted the Nasdaq composite to yet another record high. Amazon notched a record as well.

Here’s where US indexes stood at the 4 p.m. ET market close on Thursday:

  • S&P 500: 3,152.05, down 0.6%
  • Dow Jones industrial average: 25,706.09, down 1.4% (361 points)
  • Nasdaq composite: 10,547.75, up 0.5%

Read more: Ed Hyman was named Wall Street’s best economist 39 times and called the tech bubble. He outlines 3 market drivers that are aligning for investors looking to capitalize on coronavirus chaos.

Equities rose through the morning on positive labor market data before sliding on renewed virus fears. Unemployment-insurance claims last week totaled 1.3 million, the Labor Department announced Thursday, down 99,000 from the week before. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected a reading of 1.38 million.

While the metric has fallen for 14 consecutive weeks, its latest reading is still about double the 665,000 filings during the Great Recession’s worst week. Continuing claims — those tracking Americans receiving unemployment benefits — declined to 18.1 million for the week that ended on June 27.

Elsewhere on the economic data front, Bloomberg’s consumer comfort index fell 0.4 points to 42.9 in the week ended Sunday. The decline is the gauge’s first in seven weeks and led by a drop in buying attitudes.

Read more: Wall Street is being shaken to its core by a legion of Gen Z day-traders. From a casual hobbyist to a 20-year-old running a 14,000-person platform, meet the new generation of retail investors.

Walgreens shares led the Dow lower. The drugstore chain plummeted after reporting a $1.7 billion loss in the third quarter. Adjusted earnings per share also missed expectations, landing at 83 cents to analysts’ $1.19.

Gold remained above $1,800 as investors held tight to the popular hedge asset.

Oil prices slid after Libya restarted an oil field for the first time since January. The renewed pumping activity sparked concerns of a market oversupply. West Texas Intermediate crude fell as much as 4%, to $39.27 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, fell 3.1%, to $41.94 per barrel, at intraday lows.

Investors have largely looked through a spike in US coronavirus cases and pushed equity prices higher over the week. Stocks gained on Wednesday as a tech rally overshadowed falling travel stocks. Amazon, Microsoft, and Alphabet all turned higher through the session, and Apple reached an all-time high.

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