Stocks shrug off spiking jobless claims to focus on Trump's economic restart

Trump says stock market shows hope for quick economic recovery

President Trump assures the American people the economy will soon be ‘booming.’

U.S. equity markets are rallying Thursday morning, despite another jump in first-time unemployment claims, as President Trump lays the groundwork to reopen the economy.

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The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite rose 0.3 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively, while the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 0.4 percent, or 97 points.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES23322.27-182.08-0.77%
SP500S&P 5002764.86-18.50-0.66%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX8401.043747+7.87+0.09%

The Labor Department reported initial jobless claims totaling 5.25 million for the week through April 11, worse than the 5.1 million that economists surveyed by Refinitiv were anticipating. The data raises the number of first-time filings due to disruptions from COVID-19, including stores closing and factories idling, to about 22 million.

CORONAVIRUS REOPENING CARRIES HIGH STAKES FOR TRUMP IN 2020 RACE

As job losses mount, President Trump is speaking with governors from all 50 states on Thursday to discuss guidelines for reopening the economy and getting America back to work.

Looking at stocks, Morgan Stanley reported its first-quarter profit fell 32 percent from a year ago to $1.7 billion. The company is largely avoiding the government’s small business lending program since it lacks a credit arm, unlike rivals JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup.

Abbott Laboratories reported a 16 percent drop in first-quarter profit and suspended its 2020 forecast.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
MSMORGAN STANLEY37.10-1.30-3.39%
ABTABBOTT LABORATORIES93.55+2.61+2.87%
UALUNITED AIRLINES HLDG.28.73-3.13-9.82%
BBBYBED BATH & BEYOND INC.5.00+0.56+12.73%

Meanwhile, United Airlines cut its flight schedule in May by 90 percent and warned job cuts were likely after Sept. 30, when limitations from the CARES Act, the government’s rescue package, expire.

Bed Bath & Beyond beat on both the top and bottom lines as its fiscal fourth-quarter loss narrowed to $65 million, or 53 cents a share, from $254 million a year ago. The retailer did not provide fiscal 2020 guidance due to uncertainty caused by COVID-19.

Big-box retailer Costco raised its quarterly dividend by 7.9 percent to 70 cents a share

J.C. Penney missed a $12 million interest payment, electing to enter into a 30-day grace period amid reports the retailer is mulling a bankruptcy filing.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
COSTCOSTCO WHOLESALE CORPORATION313.07+2.81+0.90%
JCPJ.C. PENNEY0.24+0.00+1.89%

West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose 0.8 percent to $26.25 a barrel and gold gained 0.4 percent to $1,747 an ounce.

U.S. Treasurys rallied, pushing the yield on the 10-year note down by 3.3 basis points to 0.608 percent. Data out Thursday morning showed housing starts plunged 22.3 percent in March to 1.216 million, missing the 1.3 million that economists were expecting.

In Europe, Germany’s DAX traded higher by 1.17 percent, France’s CAC added 0.71 percent and Britain’s FTSE gained 0.59 percent.

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Asian markets finished mixed, with China’s Shanghai Composite adding 0.31 percent while Japan’s Nikkei and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slid 1.33 percent and 0.58 percent, respectively.

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