Wall Street ends down after jobless claims hit 18-month low

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York City July 21, 2021. — Reuters pic
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York City July 21, 2021. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, Sept 10 — Wall Street ended lower on Thursday after weekly jobless claims fell to a near 18-month low, allaying fears of a slowing economic recovery, but also stoking worries the Fed could move sooner than expected to scale back its accommodative policies.

The Labor Department said initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 35,000 to a seasonally adjusted 310,000 for the week ended Sept. 4, the lowest level since mid-March 2020. That suggested that job growth could be hindered by labor shortages rather than cooling demand for workers.

Microsoft and Amazon each declined about 1 per cent, both among the stocks weighing most on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq.

The S&P 500 real estate and healthcare indexes each fell over 1 per cent and were the poorest performers of 11 sectors, while financials, energy and materials made modest gains.

JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Citi Group and Morgan Stanley each rose, tracking a slight rise in benchmark bond yields following the claims data.

“The problem with the market these days is it’s rotating more than it’s moving. Today, because of the jobs claims report, everyone is buying cyclical stocks,” said Jay Hatfield, chief executive of Infrastructure Capital Management in New York. “We see it as a rangebound market, between 4,400 and 4,600 (on the S&P 500).”

Investors have become more worried in recent sessions after a recent monthly jobs report showed a slowdown in US hiring, suggesting the economic recovery may be losing steam faster than expected. Also dragging on sentiment has been uncertainty about when the US Federal Reserve’s will scale back massive measures enacted last year to shield the economy from the coronavirus pandemic.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.43 per cent to end at 34,879.38 points, while the S&P 500 lost 0.46 per cent to 4,493.28.

The Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.25 per cent to 15,248.25.

Lululemon Athletica soared 10 per cent after providing a strong annual forecast, as demand for its yoga pants remains strong despite the easing of coronavirus restrictions.

Reports that Beijing slowed down approval for all new online video games sent shares of US-listed gaming stocks Activision Blizzard Inc, Electronic Art Inc, and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc down more than 1 per cent.

Digital Realty slid 5 per cent after the data center REIT announced a public offering of 6.25 million shares.

Volume on US exchanges was 9.3 billion shares, compared with the 9.1 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.03-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.12-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 29 new 52-week highs and 1 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 67 new highs and 38 new lows. — Reuters


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