U.S. stock markets reversed losses at the opening to be narrowly mixed after early trading on Thursday, after the latest weekly data for U.S. jobless claims again underlined how long and arduous the road to economic recovery is likely to be.
Initial jobless claims edged down only slightly to 1.51 million from an upwardly-revised 1.57 million the previous week, while continuing claims – which are reported with a one-week lag but which are considered a more accurate measure of labor market dynamics – stayed stuck above the 20 million mark, defying expectations that they would fall below it for the first time since April.
By 10:15 AM ET (1415 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 31 points or 0.1% at 26,086 points, while the S&P 500 was down 0.5% and the NASDAQ Composite was down 0.2%.
“Despite all the hype about the strong initial rebound from depressed levels of activity, the labor market scars from the Global #Coronavirus Recession are becoming more apparent,” said Oxford Economics analyst Greg Daco via Twitter.
Among individual stocks, Kroger (NYSE:KR) fell 4.1% after the grocery store chain pulled its guidance for the rest of the year, despite posting a 19% rise in underlying same-store sales for the three months through May 23.
Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com (NASDAQ:JD) fell 2.6% after the company completed its market debut in Hong Kong, a move that may gradually drain liquidity from the New York-listed ADRs.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was unable to add to the new all-time high it posted on Wednesday, against the backdrop of a looming clash between the U.S. and Europe over the taxing of tech giants. The U.S. withdrew from an international process to devise a new framework for taxing multinationals earlier in the week, something that may hasten the imposition of taxes on digital services by the big European economies. That in turn could threaten a response in the form of import tariffs from the U.S. side, President Trump’s trade advisor Peter Navarro has said.
In other markets, U.S. crude futures rose 0.7% to $38.22 a barrel, regaining some momentum as a meeting to monitor compliance with the so-called ‘OPEC+’ alliance’s deal on output restraint passed off without major incident, while executives from major trading companies Vitol and Trafigura told Bloomberg that global demand is picking up quickly.
Gold Futures fell 0.5% to $1,727.55 a troy ounce, meanwhile.