S&P 500, Dow dip on rising virus cases, elevated jobless claims

(Reuters) – The S&P 500 and Dow retreated on Thursday as an uptick in coronavirus infections in parts of the United States threatened to upend bets of a swift economic recovery, with data showing weekly jobless claims remained elevated.

Several U.S. states including Texas, Florida and Oklahoma reported a surge in new infections. However, President Donald Trump said late on Wednesday the United States would not close businesses again.

“Without a vaccination or solution to this healthcare problem, it’s going to continue to create economic problems even though the data has probably bottomed in the United States and China,” said Nate Fischer, chief investment strategist of Strategic Wealth Partners, in Cleveland.

The Labor Department’s report showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits totaled a seasonally adjusted 1.508 million for the week ended June 13, the eleventh straight weekly drop.

“It’s off a very low base, so the numbers have done better than expected, but the risk-reward profile right now is not that favorable given how far we have run off the bottom,” Fischer said.

The S&P 500 .SPX is about 8% below its February all-time high, while the Nasdaq .IXIC is about 1.5% below a June 10 peak.

At 9:53 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 118.54 points, or 0.45%, at 26,001.07, the S&P 500 .SPX was down 4.78 points, or 0.15%, at 3,108.71.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 16.69 points, or 0.17%, at 9,927.22.

Healthcare stocks .SPXHC weighed the most on the benchmark index with most S&P sectors trading in the red. Technology .SPLRCT and materials .SPLRCM outperformed.

Carnival Corp (CCL.N) slipped 0.7% after reporting a quarterly net loss of $4.4 billion and warning of a loss for the rest of the year after the pandemic brought its cruise business to an effective standstill.

Spotify Technology SA (SPOT.N) jumped 5% after signing a podcast deal with AT&T Inc’s (T.N) Warner Bros and DC entertainment featuring popular DC comics characters.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.83-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.08-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded four new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 32 new highs and no new low.

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