U.S. Stocks Settle Mostly Lower, But Nasdaq Posts Record Closing High

U.S. stocks ended mostly lower Thursday as the relentless surge in coronavirus cases across America raised fears of another lockdown in several states and dimmed prospects for a quick economic recovery.

The major averages ended the session mixed. The tech-laden Nasdaq composite index surged up 55.25 points or 0.53 percent to settle at 10,547.75, a record closing high. The Dow slid 361.19 points or 1.39 percent to settle at 15,706.09, while the broader S&P 500 drifted down 17.89 points or 0.56% to 3,152.05.

Concerns about coronavirus infections in the country rose after more than 60,000 new Covid-19 cases were reported on Wednesday, the biggest increase ever reported by a country in a single day. Florida reported a record increase in hospitalizations.

With Covid-19 cases on the rise in 42 states across the United States, investors fear that re-imposition of lockdown measures will significantly weaken recovery chances.

On the economic front, the data from the Labor Department showed a bigger than expected decrease in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits. The report said initial jobless claims tumbled to 1.314 million, a decrease of 99,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 1.413 million.

Economists had expected jobless claims to slump to 1.375 million from the 1.427 million originally reported for the previous week.

Among the major losers in the Dow average today, Exxon Mobil (XOM), Chevron (CVX.TO), General Electric (GE) and Boeing (BA) lost 3.6 to 4.4%.

Goldman Sachs (GS), Verizon (VZ), American Express (AXP), Coca-Cola (KO), Caterpillar (CAT), JP Morgan Chase (JPM), IBM (IBM) and Nike (NKE) also declined sharply.

Walmart (WMT) shares moved up more than 2.5% and Cisco Systems (CSCO) climbed up nearly 2%.

Amazon (AMZN), Costco Wholesale (COST), Cognizant Technology (CTSH), Nividia (NVDA), Tesla (TSLA), eBay (EBAY), Dollar Tree (DLTR) and Cisco Systems (CSCO) climbed 1.7 to 3.3%, contributing to the gains of the Nasdaq.

Wallgreens Boots Alliance, Inc (WBA) shares plunged more than 8% after the drugstore chain’s earnings for the third quarter missed analysts’ expectations and it also forecast earnings for the full-year below estimates. The company reported net loss of $1.71 billion or $1.95 per share for the third quarter compared to net income of $1.03 billion or $1.13 per share in the year-ago period.

American Airlines (AAL), Ross Stores (ROST) and Dish Network (DISH) also ended sharply lower.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.4 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index jumped by 1.4 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the downside for the third straight day. While the French CAC 40 Index tumbled by 1.21 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index fell by 1.73% and Germany’s DAX edged down by 0.04%. The pan European Stoxx 600 ended down 0.77%.

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