Stocks are falling again on Thursday morning as markets take a hit from disappointing unemployment data, and investors grapple with a resurgence of coronavirus as several states see record numbers of new cases.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.3%, nearly 100 points, at Thursday’s open, while the S&P 500 fell 0.1% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.1%.
Stocks opened lower on the back of more disappointing jobless claims data: Another 1.5 million Americans filed for unemployment in the week ending June 20, more than the 1.3 million expected.
Continuing claims fell below 20 million for the first time since April, but the overall jobless numbers still remain high and the labor market’s recovery could be impeded by a surge of new coronavirus cases across the country.
Medical experts are increasingly worried that new cases in the United States, which hit their highest levels since April, could hinder an economic reopening and recovery: States like Texas, Florida, California and Arizona are all reporting record numbers of new infections.
New York, New Jersey and Connecticut also announced on Wednesday that they will require visitors from Florida, Texas and other states with a spike in new cases to quarantine for 14 days on arrival.
Shares of companies that would benefit from the economy reopening—including retailers, airlines and cruise operators—continued to decline on Thursday.
“Jobless numbers are flatlining after weeks of improvement,” says Vital Knowledge founder Adam Crisafulli. It was the third consecutive week of job losses coming in at around 1.5 million, with continuing claims still hovering around 20 million. But jobless claims had leveled out before the recent spike in coronavirus cases, Crisafulli notes, “which means it could see upward pressure over the coming weeks.”
Only four states—New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts—are currently “on track” to contain coronavirus, according to nonprofit tracking database Covid Act Now. A total of 22 states are either at risk of an outbreak or already facing one.
Amid the negative headlines around a resurgence of coronavirus, stocks plunged on Wednesday, posting their worst losses since June 11. The Dow dropped by over 700 points, while the S&P and Nasdaq both fell over 2%.
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