US stocks decline amid renewed US-China tensions, historic jobless claims

Reuters / Andrew Kelly

  • US stocks dipped on Thursday amid renewed tensions with China. The nation responded to recent accusations from President Trump by saying it could take countermeasures.
  • The losses also came amid data that showed jobless claims reached 2.4 million for the week that ended on Saturday.
  • The Labor Department’s latest data brought the metric’s nine-week total to nearly 39 million, topping the 37 million claims during the 18-month financial crisis.
  • Oil continued its recent rally, with West Texas Intermediate crude rising as much as 3.5%, to $34.66 per barrel.
  • Watch major indexes update live here.

US equities closed slightly lower on Thursday amid renewed tensions with China. The nation responded to recent accusations from President Trump by saying it could take countermeasures.

The losses also came amid data that showed jobless claims totaled 2.4 million for the week that ended on Saturday. The latest data pushed the figure’s nine-week total to nearly 39 million, surpassing the 37 million Americans who filed for unemployment insurance during the 18-month Great Recession.

The Labor Department’s Thursday release matched economists’ median estimate of 2.4 million claims and marked the seventh-straight decline for weekly filings.

Here’s where US indexes stood at the 4 p.m. ET market close on Thursday:

Read more: These 11 stocks loved by hedge funds have beaten the market during both the coronavirus collapse and its subsequent recovery, RBC says

Stocks declined early following a tepid opening after the Senate passed a bill aiming to delist Chinese companies from American exchanges. Lawmakers and the White House have repeatedly raised concerns about US-listed firms that may be under Chinese government control or receiving capital from state funds.

Meanwhile, the oil prices continued a recent rally. West Texas Intermediate crude gained as much as 3.5%, to $34.66 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, rose 3.4%, to $36.98, at intraday highs.

Jobless claims weren’t the only metric dragging on sentiment through Thursday trading. US home loan delinquencies jumped a record 1.6 million in April, according to Black Knight data. The surge is roughly three-times the last one-month record set during the financial crisis.

Read more: Multiple readings of the stock market’s future are near their worst levels ever. UBS explains why that’s set up a ‘significant recovery’ — and lays out a 2-part playbook to profit from it.

A separate release from credit-reporting firm TransUnion revealed major stresses in other credit markets. Nearly 15 million credit-card accounts, or 3.2% of US accounts, entered “financial hardship” programs through April, the firm found. The proportion surged from just 0.01% in March. Auto loans posted a similar fall into hardship status, with 3.5%, or nearly three million accounts, missing payments last month.

Despite the day’s weak performance for equities, Bank of America strategists said Thursday that stocks are the most attractive they’ve been relative to bonds in more than 70 years. The firm highlighted a major divergence in performance between the two assets over the next year and advised clients to prepare for a flood of cash to return to the stock market when economic recovery accelerates.

Now read more markets coverage from Markets Insider and Business Insider:

Bank of America lays out a bullish scenario where US stocks surge 14% over the next year

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin sees ‘strong likelihood’ further stimulus needed as Senate spars over new bill

A value-investing expert explains why beaten-down stocks are the most appealing since the dot-com bubble — and shares 3 stocks he bought as the coronavirus crash created ‘rare’ opportunities

 

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