Shares of energy companies rose despite a selloff in oil futures and a stunning increase in weekly jobless claims.
New York-traded U.S. benchmark oil prices fell 7.7% to $22.60-a-barrel, almost wiping out gains related to anticipation of the $2 trillion stimulus package.
A record 3.28 million workers applied for unemployment benefits last week as the new coronavirus hit the U.S. economy, marking the end of a decadelong job expansion. Pennsylvania, Ohio and California were among 10 states reporting more than 100,000 claims, leaving unemployment systems overloaded.
Oil prices had been rallying through Wednesday as the U.S. Senate passed a massive stimulus package to offset the economic pain from the coronavirus. Natural gas prices ended the session 1.3% lower at around $1.64-a-million-British thermal units as weekly storage data revealed a growing inventory surplus just as the weak-demand spring season begins.
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