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Stock market news live updates: Stocks tick down after record-setting rally; investors eye jobless claims

Stocks were slightly lower Thursday morning after Wall Street capped off yet another record-setting session a day earlier. Investors eyed the Labor Department’s weekly jobless claims report, which showed a bigger than expected improvement in new weekly claims under a newly introduced counting system.

Each of the S&P 500 and Nasdaq ended the regular session Wednesday at their highest-ever closing levels. The broad rally lifted stocks and sectors that had been underperforming so far during the pandemic, with the utilities, materials and real estate sectors leading advances in the S&P 500 on the day. The Dow spiked above 29,000 for the first time since February and came within 500 points of its all-time record level.

V), Nike (NKE), UPS (UPS), PayPal (PYPL) and LuluLemon (LULU), in addition to big tech names Alphabet (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT) and Amazon (AMZN). Costco (COST) shares added to gains after closing at a record, after the company reported August comparable sales that topped consensus expectations, and e-commerce sales that surged by more than 100%. Apple (AAPL) and Tesla (TSLA) shares each ended the session lower, however, and continued to give back some steep gains after their stock splits at the end of last month.

Bloomberg reported Wednesday that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has told states to prepare for a Covid-19 vaccine that would be ready for distribution by the beginning of November.” data-reactid=”23″>The jump Wednesday came as investors continued to bet on a protracted era of accommodation from the Federal Reserve and other global central banks as policymakers work to offer ongoing support the virus-stricken economy. Hopes that a coronavirus vaccine will be available in the near-term – and thereby allow more businesses to reopen and consumers to spend more confidently – have also supported equities. Media outlets including Bloomberg reported Wednesday that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has told states to prepare for a Covid-19 vaccine that would be ready for distribution by the beginning of November.

Stocks kept the momentum going Wednesday even as some new disappointing data on the labor market punctuated what had been a string of better-than-expected reports on the manufacturing sector, housing market and services economy in recent days. ADP’s closely watched monthly private payrolls report showed just 428,000 new jobs were added back in August, or fewer than half the 1 million that had been expected. The report, however, has historically and especially during the pandemic period been an imprecise gauge of the Labor Department’s “official” monthly jobs reports, and investors largely shrugged off the estimates-missing print Wednesday morning.

in the form of the weekly jobless claims report. This is expected to show another 950,000 Americans filed first-time unemployment claims last week, marking the second time the weekly figure dipped below 1 million during the pandemic. However, the result is expected to show improvement in large part due to a change in methodology in the Labor Department’s counting of new weekly claims, which will be implemented for the first time in Thursday’s release.

9:32 a.m. ET: Stocks open slightly lower after record rally a day earlier

Here were the main moves in markets as of 9:32 a.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): 3,562.23, -18.61 points (-0.52%)

  • Dow (^DJI): 29,062.81, -37.69 points (-0.13%)

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): 11,877.35, -179.09 points (-1.44%)

  • Crude (CL=F): $40.55 per barrel, -$0.96 (-2.31%)

  • Gold (GC=F): $1,945.20, +$0.50 (+0.03%)

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): 0.638%, -1.3 bps

8:30 a.m. ET: Jobless claims fall more than expected in latest weekly report, as new counting method takes effect

New weekly unemployment insurance claims fell more than expected to 881,000 last week, versus the 950,000 consensus economists had been expecting.

That sum marked just the second time during the pandemic that new weekly jobless claims came in below 1 million. Thursday’s report, however, also represented the first time the US Department of Labor (DOL) counted new and continuing jobless claims under an updated system, which had been expected to lower the level of claims reported.

The change was expected to lead to fewer headline claims being reported than would have been under the previous method, and also rendered comparisons to previous weeks of headline seasonally adjusted initial and continuing unemployment filings useless. Unadjusted new claims were unaffected and remained comparable over previous weeks and months.

Unadjusted new weekly jobless claims totaled 833,352 in the week ending August 29, rising by nearly 7,600 over the prior week, and diverging directionally from the decrease reported in the new seasonally adjusted claims. Seasonally adjusted jobless claims for the week ended August 22 totaled 1.011 million, under the old counting system.

Continuing jobless claims, which were also counted under the new system, totaled 13.254 million, or better than the 14 million that had been expected.

7:18 a.m. ET Thursday: Stocks dip ahead of jobless claims report

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 7:18 a.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,566.75, down 12.5 points or 0.35%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 29,062.00, down 28 points or 0.1%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 12,305.00, down 106.5 points, or 0.86%

  • Crude (CL=F): $40.70 per barrel, -$0.81 (-1.95%)

  • Gold (GC=F): $1,936.30, -$8.40 (-0.43%)

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): 0.653%, +0.2 bps

6:03 p.m. ET Wednesday: Stock futures tick lower after record-setting rally

Here were the main moves in equity markets, as of 6:03 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,576.00, down 3.25 points or 0.09%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 29,060.00, down 30 points or 0.1%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 12,405.25, down 6.25 points, or 0.05%

NEW YORK, March 18, 2020 — Traders work at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, the United States, on March 18, 2020. The New York Stock Exchange said Wednesday it will temporarily close its trading floor and move to fully electronic trading because of the COVID-19 outbreak. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/ via Getty Images)

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