Midday Market Update: Stocks Remain Pressured Thursday

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Stocks were pressured Thursday, with market leadership also mixed as investors eyed health and economic developments. 

The S&P 500 oscillated between up marginally and down 0.3% Thursday, after having been down 0.8% in premarket trading. The tech-heavy Nasdaq was the strongest index, between flat and up slightly. The 10-Year Treasury yield slipped to 0.7%, a risk-off signal. Yields fall when prices rise. 

Coronavirus cases continue to tick up, with Johns Hopkins data showing the 5-day moving average of new daily cases in the U.S. at 25,000, up slightly this week and up from 17,000 weeks ago.

On the economic data front, jobless claims came in at 1.5 million versus expectations of 1.3 million and flat week-over-week, but still improving over the past few months. 

Some cyclical sectors rose around noon, while some were down. Some defensive sectors fell. This all indicates mixed messages as to the economic recovery, although stocks are trading at rich valuations across sectors. 

On the cyclical side, energy ETF  (XLE) - Get Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund Report rose 1.5%. Bank ETF  (KBWB) - Get Invesco KBW Bank ETF Report rose 0.3%. 

On the defensive side, the New York Stock Exchange Healthcare Index fell 0.5%, with more strength seen in consumer staples. 

As for technology, which investors favor sometimes in times of uncertainty because of secular growth trends that can power through economic headwinds, S&P 500 tech ETF  (XLK) - Get Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund Report rose 0.2%. The NYSE FANG Index down slightly. 

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