Stocks battle for record highs after coronavirus jobless claims fall below 1M

Why this market strategist recommends investing in industrial stocks right now

Belpointe chief market strategist David Nelson and Wealth Enhancement Group Senior Vice President Nicole Webb on investing in coronavirus markets.

U.S. equity markets were mixed Thursday morning after initial jobless claims fell below 1 million for the first week since coronavirus lockdowns began in mid-March.

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The S&P 500, on the verge of an all-time high after finishing Wednesday’s session less than six points below its record of 3,386.15, fell 0.23 percent. The index’s intraday high is 3,393.52.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, meanwhile, dropped 92 points, or 0.33 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.37%.

Initial jobless claims for the week ended Aug. 8 totaled 963,000, according to the Labor Department. The reading marked the first time in 21 weeks that filings were below 1 million and was beneath the 1.12 million filings that Wall Street analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting.

Continuing claims, meanwhile, fell by 604,000 to 15.48 million, also better-than-anticipated.

Looking at stocks, Dow component 3M said July sales rose 6% from a year ago as business picked up across all of its units.

Fellow Dow component Apple Inc. is preparing a bundle, called “Apple One,” that will give customers who subscribe to multiple services from the company a discounted price, according to Bloomberg. Traders continue to watch the $467.77 level that, if eclipsed, would make Apple the first U.S. company to reach a $2 trillion market valuation.

Looking at earnings, Cisco Systems reported better-than-expected top- and bottom-line results and laid out a restructuring plan after the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in lower customer spending. Both Cisco’s earnings and revenue forecasts disappointed.

Ride-hailing app Lyft said its number of active riders fell 60% year-over-year in the three months through June as customers sheltered at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company said it may suspend service in California if a judge’s order saying the company must consider drivers employees rather than independent contractors is upheld.

Coach and Kate Spade-parent Tapestry reported a narrower-than-expected loss and said it will focus on its e-commerce platform as it looks to turn around its sagging business.

Looking at commodities, gold was down $13.30 at $1,935.70 an ounce while West Texas Intermediate crude oil was up 3 cents at $42.70 per barrel.

U.S. Treasurys were little changed, with the yield on the 10-year note holding near 0.69%.

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European markets were trading lower across the board with Britain’s FTSE down 1.1%, France’s CAC off 0.37% and Germany’s DAX weaker by 0.35%.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei climbed 1.78% to a three-month high while China’s Shanghai Composite edged up 0.04% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.05%.

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