US stocks climb as investors weigh extended tech rally against weak jobless-claims data

REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

  • US stocks climbed on Thursday as tech giants attempted to reclaim record highs.
  • Rebounding tech names led indexes higher on Wednesday. The sector has fueled outsize volatility in recent sessions as investors reconcile lofty stock valuations and strong momentum.
  • Investors also mulled weekly jobless-claims data that signaled lasting pain in the US labor market. Claims totaled 884,000 for the week that ended on Saturday, missing the economist estimate of 850,000.
  • Oil fell after the American Petroleum Institute reported that US stockpiles increased by nearly 3 million barrels. West Texas Intermediate crude sank as much as 2.3%, to $37.17 per barrel.
  • Watch major indexes update live here.

US equities gained on Thursday as tech stocks resumed their recovery rally and boosted major indexes.

The popular sector has taken center stage this week, following its collapse before Labor Day weekend. Tech names pushed indexes higher on Wednesday as investors scooped up shares at lowered levels.

Mega-caps including Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon led the surge. Volatility remains elevated, and any slip-up from a tech giant would likely weigh on the broader market.

Traders also digested worse-than-expected jobless-claims data. Claims for unemployment benefits in the week that ended on Saturday reached an unadjusted total of 884,000. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected weekly claims to fall to 850,000. Thursday’s report signaled continued pain in the labor market even after the unemployment rate declined in August.

Here’s where US indexes stood shortly after the 9:30 a.m. ET market open on Thursday:

  • S&P 500: 3,418.26, up 0.6%
  • Dow Jones industrial average: 28,117.89, up 0.6% (177 points)
  • Nasdaq composite: 11,248.10, up 1%

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Continuing claims, which track the number of Americans receiving unemployment benefits, slightly increased to 13.4 million. Economists had expected continuing claims to dip below 13 million.

Market participants will be looking to Capitol Hill for updates on a stimulus vote. Senate Republicans are set to introduce a $500 billion bill to expand unemployment benefits by $300 a week. Democrats, who have repeatedly called for a package with at least $2.2 billion in economic aid, are likely to strike down the smaller proposal.

Tesla shares climbed, continuing their uptrend after tanking through the end of last week.

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AstraZeneca retraced some of its Wednesday losses. The biotech company tumbled after pausing a trial of its coronavirus vaccine candidate because a participant had an adverse reaction. CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday that the company still aimed to know before the end of the year whether the vaccine protects people against the coronavirus.

Spot gold gained 0.9%, to $1,963.87 per ounce, at intraday highs; the precious metal has remained in a narrow trading range of $1,900 to $2,000. The US dollar weakened, and Treasury yields gained.

Oil declined after the American Petroleum Institute reported that US stockpiles increased by nearly 3 million barrels last week, Bloomberg reported. West Texas Intermediate crude sank as much as 2.3%, to $37.17 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international standard, fell 1.8%, to $40.07 per barrel, at intraday lows.

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