Dow Closes Off 1.4% as Coronavirus Spikes - Nasdaq at Record

Stocks end mixed as the U.S. sets another record for new coronavirus cases, casting doubt on a speedy economic recovery.
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The Nasdaq Composite on Thursday closed at a record and the Dow industrials took the low road as the U.S. set another record for new coronavirus cases, casting doubts on a speedy recovery for the economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 361 points, or 1.4%, to 25,706 and the S&P 500 fell 0.56% to 3,152.

The Nasdaq rose 0.53% to close at a record 10,547. The index also reached an intraday record.

At one point during Thursday's trading, the Dow fell almost 2.1%.

Walgreens Boots Alliance  (WBA) - Get Report led the Dow lower after the drugstore chain posted weaker-than-expected third-quarter earnings and suspended its share buyback program as stay-at-home orders in key markets around the world hit the company's top and bottom lines.

Jobless claims declined. U.S. employers continued efforts to reopen and rehire even as the coronavirus continued to flare in various states and cities.

The Labor Department said 1.314 million Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits in the week ended July 3, down from a revised 1.413 million claims a week earlier.

While the numbers fell and came in lower than economists' expectations, close to 50 million Americans have filed for unemployment insurance over the past four months.

"Unemployment claims moved lower, but in defiance of rising bankruptcies and layoffs from major retailers," said Robert Frick, corporate economist with Navy Federal Credit Union. 

"This second wave of layoffs will keep claims high and decreasing painfully slowly, and while the labor market is improving, claims show more than a million workers are losing their jobs weekly," Frick added. "The better news is continuing claims moved lower again, and that's a more reliable figure of the net loss of jobs."

Continuing claims, which are the number of people not just filing but staying on unemployment benefits, were 18.062 million for the week ended June 27. 

Stocks finished higher Wednesday, rising for the sixth day out of the last seven, though persistent concerns remained that the coronavirus outbreak could stall the economy's rebound.

The gains have come despite the U.S. setting another record for new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, with more than 59,400 infections announced, according to a database compiled by The New York Times. It was the fifth national record set in nine days.

The U.S. has nearly 3.09 million confirmed cases of the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University, and deaths have risen to more than 132,803, the most in the world.