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Stocks waffle a day after latest run at record


The U.S. economy just had its worse performance ever as businesses shut down across the country as well as much travel decline.


U.S. stocks were virtually unchanged Thursday, a day after the S&P 500 finished just below its record high before the coronavirus pandemic battered the global economy in the spring.

The S&P 500, the broadest measure of U.S. stocks and the index used as a benchmark for index funds, ticked up less than 0.1% and was trading within 0.2% of its Feb. 19 all-time high. The index has notched gains in eight of the past nine trading days. 

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 10 points, off about 5% from its February peak. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.5%, after hitting a record earlier this month.

Big Tech stocks were once again leading the market, with all five of the market’s biggest titans making modest gains. Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and Google’s parent company each rose at least 0.6%.

Cisco, which makes routers and other network hardware, fell 11% — the most in the S&P 500 — after predicting results for its current quarter that were weaker than analysts were expecting. Lyft fell 5% after reporting a steep drop in ridership and revenue.

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Markets received some less-bad news on the jobs front as the number of laid-off workers applying for unemployment benefits fell below 1 million last week for the first time since March. About 963,000 filed initial jobless claims, a rough measure of layoffs, the Labor Department said Thursday.

“The labor market is continuing its gradual improvement,” Doug Duncan, chief economist at Fannie Mae, said in a note. “While the pace of decline in claims had paused briefly, it appears to be accelerating again, an encouraging sign for the labor market recovery. However, the initial claims figure still remains above the peak value seen during the previous recession.”

Trade tensions between the U.S. and China are adding to uncertainties, with officials from both sides due to hold a virtual meeting Friday to discuss progress on a deal reached in January that brought a truce in a tariff war.

In other trading, benchmark U.S. crude edged down 2 cents to $42.65 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, was down 0.2% at $45.36 per barrel.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rallied back from an earlier dip, and it was sitting at 0.69% in morning trading. It was at 0.57% just on Monday.

Gold, which has been setting records recently, slipped 40 cents to $1,948.60 per ounce.

In Europe, Germany’s DAX dipped 0.2% and Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 1%. In Asian trading, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 jumped 1.8%. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.2%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was little changed, slipping less than 0.1%.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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