Wall Street ended Wednesday's session mixed as investors digested weekly jobless claims and consumer activity against the bullish sentiment for a speedy coronavirus vaccine rolled in the next several week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated from its 30,000 milestone and the S&P 500 slipped lower ahead of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, while tech stocks surged higher, bringing the Nasdaq to a new record close above 12,000.
U.S. weekly jobless claims totaled a more-than-expected 778,000 for the week ended Nov. 21, up from the 740,000 recorded the previous week, the Labor Department reported on Wednesday. The increases in unemployment claims reflect the reiginition of social restrictions throughout the United States to curb the nation's current coronavirus outbreak. However, continuing jobless claims maintained their decline on Wednesday, falling to 6.07 million.
Meanwhile, U.S. consumer spending increased for the month of October, rising slightly above expectations at 0.5% for the month, up from September's 1.2% gain. Yet, Personal income fell 0.7%, for October, reversing September's 0.7% increase, signalling a more choppy economic recovery than expected as the coronavirus pandemic continue to weigh on business activity.
Here's how the market settled on Wednesday:
S&P 500 Index (SPY ): -0.16% or -5.78 points to 3,629.63
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA ): -0.58% or -173.83 points to 29,872.41
Nasdaq Composite Index (QQQ ): +0.48% or +57.62 points to 12,094.40
For Stocks, Salesforce (CRM ) led the Dow lower following reports that the software company entered talks to acquire Slack Technologies (WORK ). Slack, on the other hand, rallied more than 37% during the session. Tesla (TSLA ) continued its extended rally ahead of its inclusion in the S&P 500. Amazon (AMZN ) and other ecommerce giants gained following optimism and growth expectations for the Black Friday sales event and overall holiday season. Nikola (NKLA ) shares slumped after JPMorgan raised doubts towards the finalization of the company's $2 billion deal with General Motors (GM ) to produce the electric carmaker's Badger pick-up truck model.
For Sector Performance, only four of the 11 sectors on the S&P increased on Wednesday, with Consumer Discretionary (XLY ), Information Technology (XLK ), Real Estate (XLRE ) and Utilities (XLU ) ending slightly in positive territory. Energy (XLE ), extending its trend of wildly rising and falling, decline the most at over 2%, while Materials (XLB ) and Industrials (XLI ) rounded out the bottom three.
For Commodities and Currency, the U.S. Dollar (UUP ) fell lower on Wednesday as fresh U.S. economic data showed a stalling recovery. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against other global currencies, slipped 0.05% lower at 92.086, after falling as low as 91.941 earlier in the session. Gold (GLD ) prices rose as the dollar fell and U.S. unemployment claims totaled more than expected on Wednesday. Spot gold rose 0.2% to $1,810.41 per ounce, while gold futures settled 0.3% higher at $1,809.10 per ounce. Crude oil futures increased to their highest barrel prices in more than eight months on Wednesday following a surprise drop in U.S. crude inventories last week. International benchmark Brent Crude (BNO ) climbed 1% to $48.33 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate (USO ) gained 1.8% to $45.71 per barrel. Both benchmarks surged over 4% during the previous session as Wall Street extended its coronavirus vaccine rally.
For Thursday, U.S. stock markets are closed for the Thanksgiving holiday. Wall Street will resume trading with a shortened session on Friday.