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Stocks Finish Higher Ahead of Earnings From U.S. Tech Giants

Stocks end higher a day after the S&P 500's biggest lost since June 11. On deck: earnings reports from tech majors.

Stocks finished higher on Thursday as economic growth in the U.S. was higher than estimates and jobless claims declined.

The rebound came after the S&P 500's 3.5% drop in the previous session, the biggest loss since June 11. And investors are awaiting earnings reports from some of the largest U.S. tech companies.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost steam late in the session but still finished up 139 points, or 0.52%, at 26,659. The S&P 500 rose 1.19% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq was up 1.64% ahead of earnings from  (AMZN) - Get Inc. Report, Apple  (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report, Alphabet  (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Report and Facebook  (FB) - Get Meta Platforms Inc. Report

The U.S. economy grew the most on record during the third quarter as trillions of dollars of coronavirus relief from Congress and the Federal Reserve supported household and business spending.

Third-quarter GDP growth was 7.4%, a quarterly gain that translates to an annual pace of 33.1%. That's a reversal from the second-quarter's 31.4% decline following Covid-related shutdowns.

Weekly jobless claims fell 40,000 to 751,000, down from the upwardly revised 791,000 in the previous week.

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"Even though GDP rebounded from the second-quarter plunge, the economy is still not out of the woods yet," said Andrew Smith, chief investment strategist at Delos Capital Advisors in Dallas. 

"Much of the economic outlook depends on the trajectory of the coronavirus and the ability for businesses to remain open."

Stocks finished sharply lower Wednesday as investors' fears about the pandemic's impact on economic activity heightened. The Dow declined 943 points, or 3.43%, to 26,519, a three-month low.

European stocks fluctuated Thursday after Germany imposed a four-week partial lockdown, and France announced tough mitigation measures to slow the spread of the virus. Covid has killed more than 1.175 million globally and nearly 228,000 in the U.S.

Coronavirus cases have been increasing in almost every U.S. state, and the number of deaths and hospitalizations from Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, also has been rising. 

Measures to mitigate the spread of the virus, such as closing bars and restaurants, have Wall Street worried that any economic recovery could be derailed.

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