Stocks End Higher on Strong Jobs Gains Amid Virus Worries

Stocks finished modestly higher after a better-than-expected jobs report for June but worries about an increase in coronavirus infections persisted.
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Stocks finished higher Thursday but lost momentum in late day trading after a better-than-estimated U.S. jobs report for June but worries about higher coronavirus infections persisted.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 93 points, or 0.36%, to 25,828, the S&P 500 gained 0.45% and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.52%. The Nasdaq Composite posted a record close.

At one point in Thursday trading, the Dow industrials were up 470 points, or 1.8%

U.S. employers added 4.8 million workers to payrolls last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the unemployment rate dropped to 11.1%.

The surge in jobs followed data showing both an upward revision for May additions, to 2.7 million from 2.5 million and a stronger-than-expected jobless claims reading for the week ended June 27, which fell for the 13th week in a row to 1.427 million. 

"It’s encouraging to see jobs improve incrementally, but the overall picture is still very much in dire straits - putting tremendous strain on the U.S. economy," said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E-Trade. 

"While employment in leisure and hospitality saw a significant rise, this sector is one of the most fragile as restaurants and hotels are faced with backpeddling or stalling phased reopenings."

President Donald Trump said the jobs report shows the U.S. economy has come "roaring back" from losses suffered during the coronavirus pandemic even as new infection numbers surge in various parts of the U.S.

The job gains still leave more than 16 million Americans out of work, a number that could rise in the coming weeks as bars, restaurants and cafes delay or reverse plans to reopen as new coronavirus infections have spiked in certain parts of the country.

Florida reported a record increase in new virus infections on Thursday. New cases in the state topped 10,000, and deaths rose the most in a month.

In California, the Los Angeles Times reported, the number of people hospitalized with coronavirus has jumped 56% in the past two weeks. 

McDonald’s  (MCD) - Get Report said it will pause reopening all dine-in services in the U.S. as coronavirus cases flare up in areas across the country.

U.S. daily coronavirus cases rose by 51,374 on Wednesday, the first time daily cases crossed 50,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg.

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Report shares soared Thursday after the electric carmaker posted stronger-than-expected second-quarter delivery figures.

Tesla delivered 90,650 units over the three months ended in June, more than 25% ahead of the Wall Street consensus forecast of 72,000.