Stocks were a mixed bag on Thursday amid a busy day of headlines. The Dow finished over 150 points higher, briefly reclaiming its year-to-date breakeven level after the Federal Reserve announced a plan that may keep interest rates lower for a while longer. The S&P 500 walked away with its sixth straight day in the black and fifth-straight record close, after flirting with the 3,500 level for the first time. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite was unable to join its benchmark peers with a win, as Big Tech cooled off.
Investors are still sifting through a slew of economic data that came out recently. Though the number of Americans who filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week was expected, it still marked the second straight week jobless claims added up to more than 1 million. And while the latest gross domestic product (GDP) reading showed a better-than-expected fall, it registered the largest quarterly drop in history.
Continue reading for more on today's market, including:
- The FDA authorized Abbott Laboratories' rapid $5 COVID-19 test.
- These two discount retailers saw a sales uptick during the pandemic.
- Plus, H & R Block stock pivoted higher ahead of earnings; Coty stock marred by quarterly losses; and a cloud stock toppled Wall Street's estimates.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 28,492.27) added 160.4 points, or 0.6% for the day. Walmart (WMT) finished with a 4.5% jump, pacing the 20 gainers. Apple (AAPL) paced the 10 laggards with a 1.2% fall.
Meanwhile, the S&P 500 Index (SPX - 3,484.55) earned 5.8 points, or 0.2% for the day. The Nasdaq Composite (IXIC - 11,625.34) dropped 39.7 points, or 0.3% for today's session.
Lastly, the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX - 24.47) added 1.2 points, or 5.2% for the day.
- Two potential COVID-19 vaccines require strict refrigeration standards, raising questions about storage and distribution to those expecting them. (MarketWatch)
- Officials fear not enough people evacuated ahead of Hurricane Laura, and that high winds and flash foods will make an emergency response impossible. (CNBC)
- H&R Block is looking red-hot ahead of its quarterly earnings report.
- A cosmetics stock was heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
- This cloud stock was one of the best in the tech-heavy Nasdaq today.
Data courtesy of Trade-Alert
Fed Symposium Not Enough to Lift Gold Futures
Oil futures finished lower on Thursday, snapping a three-day winning streak. Despite Hurricane Laura landing at the very heart of the refining industry, forcing oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico to temporarily shut down, no damage was expected at those facilities. As a result, October-dated crude shaved off 35 cents, or 0.8%, to end at $43.04 a barrel.
Meanwhile, gold futures also settled lower amid a roller-coaster session. Though prices initially moved higher as Fed Chair Powell discussed inflation and changes to the central bank's policy framework, they later dropped as the announcement was baked into the day. Gold for December, the most-active contract, fell $19.90, or 1%, to settle at $1,932.60 an ounce.
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