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Wall Street closes up after choppy trading due to higher jobless claims

07/22/2021 | 06:18pm EDT
FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen outside the entrance of the London Stock Exchange in London

NEW YORK (Reuters) -U.S. stock markets closed higher after a mixed trading session as investors digested negative economic data reflecting the country's struggle to move past the COVID-19 pandemic, while yields on safe-haven assets such as U.S. Treasuries slipped.

All three major U.S. stock indexes ended in the green and within 1% of record closing highs, thanks in part to Big Tech. The Dow and S&P 500 fell earlier in the day on the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits. The dollar also rose after it slid earlier in the trading session.

"The overall picture continues to point to a return to a pre-pandemic level of economic activity," said Anu Gaggar, senior global investment analyst for Commonwealth Financial Network, in an e-mailed statement about the jobless claims and market impact.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 25.35 points, or 0.07%, to close at 34,823.35, the S&P 500 gained 8.79 points, or 0.20%, to end the day at 4,367.48 and the Nasdaq Composite added 52.64 points, or 0.36%, to close at 14,684.60.

The dollar index, meanwhile, rose 0.1% to 92.852. The U.S. currency hit its highest level in more than three months on Wednesday.

Yields on U.S. Treasuries eased after the auction of $16 billion in 10-year TIPS was bid at a record low. The yield on 10-year Treasury notes US10YT=RR fell 2.2 basis points to 1.260%.

"We had a form of capitulation in the market, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Monday, but a sign of resilience occurred on Tuesday and Wednesday," said Steve Goldman at Goldman Management. "That's typically a favorable sign for a market not far from its high. That's usually a hopeful sign. It tends to indicate that the selling pressure has subsided."

"The jobless claims data that came out this morning was soft and continues to be stubbornly elevated," said Sean Bandazian, investment analyst for Cornerstone Wealth. "The market is probably digesting some volatility from the last several days. We had a pretty sizable drawdown and then recovery making back 75% of what we lost Friday and Monday."

Growth stocks were back in favor, closing up, while value stocks slipped. Earnings season marched on, with Intel Corp falling in extended trade after posting results and Southwest Airlines Co reporting a loss.

There were increases in filings for unemployment benefits in California, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri and Texas. Some of these states have experienced a surge in new coronavirus cases as the more contagious Delta variant spreads, while U.S. senators try to take aim at tech companies allowing misinformation about vaccines to spread.

Still, the weekly jobless claims report from the Labor Department showed more people are returning to work, a trend that bodes well for July's employment report.

Earlier this week, a revived appetite for riskier assets came as worries eased that the Delta variant of COVID-19 would seriously crimp economic recovery, helping to lift crude oil prices.

OIL FIRMS

Oil prices rose about $1.50 a barrel on Thursday, extending strong gains made in the previous sessions on expectations of tighter supplies until the end of the year as economies recover from the pandemic.

U.S. crude recently was unchanged at $71.91 per barrel and Brent was at $73.62, up 1.92% on the day.[O/R]

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.42%.

Cryptocurrencies were firm after bouncing from lows when Tesla boss Elon Musk said the carmaker would likely restart accepting bitcoin payments after due diligence on its energy use.

Bitcoin was up 0.24% at $32,203.

(Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli in New York; additional reporting by Huw Jones, Sujata Rao-Coverley and Tom Westbrook; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky, Steve Orlofsky and Cynthia Osterman)

By Jessica DiNapoli


ę Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
DJ INDUSTRIAL 0.10% 34798 Delayed Quote.13.59%
INTEL CORPORATION 0.35% 54.22 Delayed Quote.8.83%
LONDON BRENT OIL 0.94% 78.01 Delayed Quote.49.38%
NASDAQ COMP. -0.03% 15047.699032 Real-time Quote.16.79%
S&P GSCI CRUDE OIL INDEX 0.69% 405.4586 Delayed Quote.51.42%
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