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US open: Stocks mixed as jobless claims fall below 1 million

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Thursday 13 Aug 2020

US open: Stocks mixed as jobless claims fall below 1 million

(Sharecast News) - US stocks were mixed in early trade on Thursday as data showed initial jobless claims fell below 1 million for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic hit in mid-March.
At 1440 BST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.3% at 27,881.48, the S&P 500 was 0.1% lower at 3,378.48 and the Nasdaq was up 0.5% at 11,064.31.

Figures released earlier by the Labor Department showed initial jobless claims fell by 228,000 last week to 963,000. Analysts had been expecting a level of 1.12m. Meanwhile, continuing claims fell for the second week in a row to their lowest level since early April, although they remain at a historically high 15.49 million.

The $600-a-week jobless supplement expired on July 31. President Donald Trump last Saturday signed an executive order that included extending the supplement, although a reduced rate of $400.



Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said: "Let's not overstate how great the unemployment claims figure was. At 963k, it is still far more swollen than anything seen pre-pandemic. Nevertheless, it is another move in the right direction, shaving more than 150k off of analysts' estimates."

But the better-than-expected data came as investors were focused on trade issues after the US government said it would maintain 15% tariffs on Airbus aircraft and 25% tariffs on other European goods. Relations between the US and China were also in focus, with officials from both countries set to meet on Saturday for a review of their deal.

In addition, hopes of an agreement between US Democrats and Republicans over further stimulus were dashed after President Donald Trump said it was "not going to happen".

On the corporate front, Uber was in focus after chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi warned the company could be required to shut down its Californian operations for several months after a recent ruling requiring it to classify its drivers as full-time employees.

Vaccine development company Novavax rallied after entering into a development and supply agreement with South Korea based SK Group subsidiary SK Bioscience for the antigen component of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

Shares of cinema chain AMC Entertainment surged after it said it will charge just 15 cents a ticket when it reopens theatres on 20 August, to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

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