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10 Sep 2021
2 min read

US Stocks Close Lower as Jobless Claims Hit New Pandemic Low

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Key Takeaways

  • US equities slide on Thursday despite sustained progress in jobless claims data
  • Mixed economic signals have kept investors from betting aggressively on stocks in September

US Stocks Hit New Low

US stock indexes declined on Thursday as investors did not latch onto a better-than-expected jobless claims report. Instead, continued concerns about slowing growth in the US economy weighed on the positive sentiment as all three major indexes ended the day in negative territory.

A four-day losing streak has defined the recent movement in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the broader S&P500. Given that Monday trading was closed in observance of the Labor Day holiday, Wall Street is on pace to finish the shortened week lower.

On Thursday, the 30-stock Dow Jones slipped at the opening and closed the day near its session lows. The blue-chip benchmark lost 151.69 points, or 0.43%, to finish the session at 34,879.38. The S&P500 fell 20.79 points, or 0.46%, to 4,493.28. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite closed down 38.38 points, or 0.25%, to 15,248.25.

Amid signs of a slowdown in economic growth, surprisingly positive jobless claims data suggested the labor market remained stable and on an upward trajectory. Filings for unemployment benefits for the week ended Sept. 4 fell to 310,000, a new pandemic bottom, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Cryptocurrencies Continue to Struggle

Initial unemployment claims have been sliding since mid-July. The four-week moving average fell to 339,500, also a new low in the pandemic era. The upbeat figures arrived amid a surge in Delta variant cases and a largely disappointing jobs report for August which showed US employers added 235,000 new hires.

So far in September, investors have been cautious not to place outsized bets on stocks. Major stock averages have mostly traded near the flat line, swinging between gains and losses as market participants assess the economic conditions and attempt to price in the expected reversal of easy-money policies from the Federal Reserve.

Adding to uncertainty and emerging signs of a slowing recovery, the Fed’s Beige Book report showed earlier in the week consumer sentiment and business confidence in the US waned slightly in July and August.

The persistent rise in Covid-19 cases prompted President Joe Biden on Thursday to introduce a new demand aimed to curb the spread of the highly transmissible virus. Mr. Biden announced new measures that would intend to force vaccine hold-outs to get their jabs.

The Biden administration said it will demand US companies employing more than 100 people to require vaccine mandates. Otherwise, any unvaccinated staff should be told to test for the virus at least once a week. The new rules are Mr. Biden’s strongest declaration aimed to boost the vaccination campaign across the states.

Meanwhile, in Europe, the European Central Bank announced Thursday it would downshift its pace of bond-buying as a nod of confidence in the recovery of the eurozone economy.

European markets slipped on Thursday and are trading moderately higher in the early hours of Friday’s session. The Stoxx 600 declined slightly yesterday, while European bourses finished the day mixed.

Cryptocurrencies are still struggling to recover from Tuesday’s market selloff. Bitcoin is currently changing hands near $46,500, virtually flat on the day.

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