(Reuters) – US stock indexes fell jerky on Thursday as fears of a further lockdown to contain an increase in coronavirus cases have overshadowed data indicating a downward trend in weekly jobless claims.
The Labor Department’s most recent data on the economy showed that 1.31 million Americans applied for state unemployment benefits last week, up from 1.43 million the previous week.
However, the job market remains fragile, with the United States reporting more than 60,000 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, setting a world record on a single day.
“We are reaching levels of unemployment that should persist until a more real reopening can take place, whether with a vaccine, new treatment or time,” said Jamie Cox, managing partner of Harris Financial Group in Richmond, Virginia.
A lot of optimistic economic data, including the record pace of job additions in June, pointed out that the domestic economy stimulated by the recovery was on the road to recovery.
The S&P 500 benchmark has risen more than 40% from its March lows and is now about 7% below its record high in February.
On Wednesday, the three main indices advanced in the last hour of trading, the Nasdaq recording its fourth closing record this month, thanks to technological stocks.
At 10:54 am ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 346.80 points, or 1.33%, to 25,720.48, the S&P 500 .SPX was down 27.98 points, or 0 , 88%, at 3,141.96, and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 26.10 points, or 0.25%, to 10,466.40.
The 11 main S&P sectors were trading lower, led by .SPSY and industrial .SPLRCI financial services.
Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O) rose 2.3% as Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the stock of network equipment supplier to “overweight”.
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (WBA.O) fell 9.1% after posting a quarterly loss from profit a year earlier, affected by non-cash impairment charges of $ 2 billion as COVID-19 disrupted the activities of its Boots UK division.
The second quarter earnings season is set to begin in earnest next week. Analysts expect corporate profits of the S&P 500 to plunge by around 44%, the sharpest drop since the 2008 financial crisis, according to IBES Refinitiv data.
Falling emissions outnumbered the advancers by 3.18: 1 on the NYSE and 2.88: 1 on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 30 new highs over 52 weeks and a new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 102 new highs and 14 new lows.