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- Stocks rise on strong signs of recovery, Dow and S&P500 post third straight set of record highs
- Initial jobless claims continue to decline despite the recent rise in Covid-19 cases
Stocks on Wall Street Climb
Wall Street equities rose on Thursday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P500 hit new record highs. The continued climb came after improved economic data signaled the pace of recovery remained robust.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average posted modest gains, but enough to log its third straight day of record closings. The 30-stock blue-chip index advanced 14.88 points, or 0.04%, to finish the session at a new all-time high of 35,499.85. The S&P500 also notched its third consecutive record high. The broad-market index added 13.13 points, or 0.30%, to close at 4,460.83. The Nasdaq Composite snapped a two-day losing stretch and ended the day higher by 51.13 points, or 0.35%, to 14,816.26.
All three major averages were lifted by strong signs of an improving economy, coupled with a solid earnings season. New filings for jobless benefits in the US fell to 375,000 in the week ended August 7. The figure marked a decline for a third consecutive week and served as proof the labor market in the world’s biggest economy continues to heal.
Over the recent weeks, first-time applications for benefits have been hovering near the pandemic low, but still above the roughly 220,000 jobless claims in the weeks before the pandemic hit in March 2020.
Digital Assets Trade Moderately Higher
The consistently low numbers of initial jobless claims continue to pile despite the sharp rise in coronavirus infections largely caused by the more transmissible Delta variant. The recent spike in new daily cases has threatened once again to overshadow the rebound in economic activity in the US. It had already done so in certain areas of the world like China and South Korea where businesses have slowed down their exports due to new pandemic restrictions.
In the US, the seven-day average of confirmed daily Covid-19 cases remains on an upward trajectory. The country reported 138,595 new cases on Thursday, bringing the seven-day rate to 125,895 per day, the highest since February 5.
There are already reports that the latest surge in Covid-19 has resulted in hospitals saturated by the Delta variant. According to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, the main hotspots for the spread of the virus are areas with low vaccination rates.
On the earnings front, Airbnb beat Wall Street expectations for revenue in the second quarter but shares fell more than 4% in after-hours trading due to delta virus warnings. The company reported revenue of $1.34bn, up almost 300% from a year ago.
Net loss arrived at $68mn, considerably better than the loss of $576mn in the year-ago quarter. Airbnb projected record revenue for the current quarter but cautioned that people may be less willing to travel in the fall.
Disney was also slated to deliver its quarterly earnings figures after the bell on Thursday. The company reported sales of $17bn, up 45% from the same quarter a year ago, slightly above expectations of $16.76bn. Disney recorded $918mn in profit, compared with a year-ago loss of $4.72bn.
In cryptocurrency action, the fast-emerging market is trading moderately higher on Friday. Bitcoin is up about 3.9% to $46,200 after a decline of about 4% on Thursday.
European markets on Friday hover relatively unchanged. The region-wide Stoxx 600 trades at a new session high above its record closing level set Thursday.
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