Dow Down, S&P 500 Up Amid Concerns Over Economic Fallout From Lockdowns

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Stocks traded higher Thursday as investors looked to tech shares amid worries that tighter restrictions to control the spread of the coronavirus will lead to further economic damage.

© TheStreet Stocks Turn Higher as Tech Sector Powers Gains

Investors also weighed an increase in U.S. jobless claims for the first time in five weeks.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 77 points, or 0.26%, to 29,515, the S&P 500 rose 0.44%, and the Nasdaq was up 0.88%.

Tesla shares rose to a record high. Salesforce and Microsoft were leading the Dow higher.

Stocks ended lower Wednesday as the gains that came from Pfizer’s more promising vaccine data were erased after New York City moved to close public schools again as virus transmission in the nation’s largest school system spiked.

Deaths in the U.S. from Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, have surpassed 250,000, the most in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. Experts have predicted the country could soon be reporting 2,000 deaths a day or more, matching or exceeding the spring peak, and that 100,000 to 200,000 more Americans could die in the coming months, The New York Times said in a report.

About 80,000 patients are hospitalized with Covid-19 in the U.S., Bloomberg reported.

That’s why word from Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech that their coronavirus vaccine candidate reached a 95% efficacy rate was welcome by Wall Street. The companies said they will apply for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration in the coming days.

But while the world waits for a vaccine to be approved – and then distributed – concerns remain over what fallout growing restrictions on businesses will have on the U.S. and global economies.

New applications for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose for the first time in five weeks as Covid-19 infections continued to soar to record levels across the country.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that 742,000 Americans filed for first-time jobless benefits in the week ended Nov. 14, up from a revised 711,000 claims the week earlier. Economists polled by FactSet had been expecting claims of 700,000.

Congress won’t be helping those who lost jobs during the pandemic anytime soon – the Senate’s decision to recess for the Thanksgiving break signals little progress on a much-needed stimulus bill.

“This isn’t the trajectory we want to see, and it underscores the fact that lockdowns kicking in across the country have a very real and negative effect on the labor market,” said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E*Trade. The first jump in jobless claims in weeks puts into perspective where we stand on the stimulus front – which is pretty much nowhere as of now.

“And as Covid cases continue to surge, policymakers could be keeping a close eye on how the jobs picture shakes out in the weeks ahead. Without a boost from the government, economic recovery and risk assets like equities certainly come under pressure,” he added.

This article was originally published by TheStreet.

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