Stocks finished higher Thursday after tech shares rose, offsetting economic worries after the number of Americans who filed for first-time unemployment benefits increased.
The Nasdaq closed at a record, ending up 1.06% to 11,264, on solid gains in Apple (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report (up 2.2% at $473.10) and Tesla (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report. The electric-car maker finished at $2,001.83 a share, up 6.6%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 46 points, or 0.17%, to 27,739, while the S&P 500 gained 0.32% to 3,385.51.
First-time jobless claims in the U.S. moved back above 1 million after dipping below that mark a week earlier as businesses continue to struggle bringing workers back on the job amid the pandemic.
“Initial claims rebounded above the 1 million threshold, taking a step backward on the path to recovery," said Glassdoor senior economist Daniel Zhao.
"The modest jump is a stark reminder that claims will likely encounter some turbulence as they fall rather than glide in for a soft landing."
The Federal Reserve said the coronavirus pandemic would weigh heavily" on U.S. economic activity and the jobs market.
In the minutes Wednesday from their meeting in late July, officials at the central bank “agreed that the ongoing public health crisis would weigh heavily on economic activity, employment, and inflation in the near term and was posing considerable risks to the economic outlook over the medium term.”
The central bank said it expected to maintain rates between 0% and 0.25% until it's “confident that the economy had weathered recent events and was on track to achieve the committee’s maximum employment and price stability goals.”
The Fed emphasized the need for further fiscal policy support from Congress.
Democratic and Republican leaders have been hinting they are looking for ways to bridge the wide gap in their stalled coronavirus stimulus negotiations.
"It’s been four weeks without the $600/week Cares Act benefits for tens of millions of unemployed Americans," Glassdoor's Zhao added.
"While a handful of states are approved to disburse the new $300 a week benefits, it remains unclear how quickly the benefits will be able to flow to unemployed Americans already facing an unsteady recovery.”
Meanwhile, China's Commerce Ministry said Thursday that Beijing and Washington have agreed to hold a call soon to discuss the progress of their phase one trade agreement.
A “discussion over the phone” will be held in the near term. Talks scheduled for last weekend were postponed due to a scheduling conflict, according to Reuters.