Stocks closed slightly higher on Thursday as market participants moved into major tech names as a hedge against coronavirus outbreak uncertainties. The S&P and Down reversed earlier losses in afternoon trading after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer stated that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had agreed to resume U.S. economic stimulus negotiations as soon as this week. Stocks were also boosted on Thursday from preliminary data from AstraZeneca's (AZN ) and Oxford University's coronavirus vaccine candidate triggered a similar immune response across all adult age groups.
Meanwhile, the Labor Department's fresh data on weekly jobless claims showed an unexpected jump in filings as raising coronavirus cases in the U.S. continued to weigh on labor market recovery. New unemployment claims totaled 742,000 for the week ended Nov. 14, which was above last week's upwardly revised total of 711,000 and consensus economists expectations. Continued jobless claims fell to its lowest level since mid-March, totaling a better-than-expected 6.371 million. However, that positive total comes amid a rising number of Americans begin filing for longer-term unemployment benefits.
Here's how the market settled on Thursday:
S&P 500 Index (SPY ): +0.39% or +14.08 points to 3,581.87
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA ): +0.15% or +44.68 points to 29,483.10
Nasdaq Composite Index (QQQ ): +0.87% or +103.11 points to 11,904.71
For Stocks, Tesla (TSLA ) shares surged to a record high during Thursday's session, following a broad rally among new electric vehicle companies. Mega-cap tech shares also made modest gains: Amazon (AMZN ), Apple (AAPL ), Facebook (FB ), Google (GOOGL ), Microsoft (MSFT ).
For Sector Performance, almost every sector gained during Thursday's session, with only defense stocks like Utilities (XLU ) and Health Care (XLV ) falling into negative territory. Energy (XLE ), which has wildly swung from highs and lows for several sessions, rose the highest following the reignition of stimulus talks, rising over 1%. Mega-cap sectors--Information Technology (XLK ), Communication Services (XLC ) and Consumer Discretionary (XLY )--were the other high performance gainers.
For Commodities and Currency, the U.S. Dollar (UUP ) fell for its sixth straight session on Thursday on reports that U.S. coronavirus stimulus negotiations have resumed. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against other global currencies, was down 0.2% at 92.299 after rising slightly earlier in the session. Gold (GLD ) prices fell as coronavirus vaccine developments boosted hopes for a near-term economic rebound, yet the dollar's recent strength and uncertainty surrounding further economic stimulus is weighing on gold. Spot gold declined 0.8% to $1,856.58 per ounce, while gold futures settled 0.9% lower at $1,856.80 per ounce. Crude oil futures slipped on Thursday.as a surge in new coronavirus cases around the world outshadowed positive vaccine news. International benchmark Brent Crude (BNO ) fell 0.32% to $44.20 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate slipped lower to $41.74 each.
For Friday, market participants will continue to trade based on coronavirus related headlines as more U.S. states enter more restrictions and stimulus talks resume.