Dow sinks 150 points as investors weigh jobless-claims data and corporate earnings

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Dow sinks 150 points as investors weigh jobless-claims data and corporate earnings
Getty Images / Xinhua News Agency

US stocks declined on Thursday after weekly jobless-claims data came in higher than expected, falling by the least since March.

Filings for unemployment benefits hit 1.3 million in the week that ended on Saturday, the Labor Department announced on Thursday. That was down just 10,000 from the previous week's reading. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected claims to fall to 1.25 million for the week.

While claims have declined for 15 weeks in a row, Thursday's reading was still roughly double the 665,000 filings during the worst week of the Great Recession. Since the coronavirus pandemic slammed the US economy, more than 51 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits.

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Here's where US indexes stood shortly after the 9:30 a.m. ET market open on Thursday:

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Data detailing consumer spending trends pointed to a rosier economic recovery. Retail sales jumped by 7.5% in June, beating economists' estimate of a 5% increase, Reuters reported. The uptick followed a record-breaking 18.2% surge in May as economic reopenings fueled a bounce-back in spending activity.

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Twitter plunged and dragged on the Nasdaq composite following Wednesday afternoon's bitcoin scandal. Hackers gained access to several high-profile Twitter accounts — including those of former President Barack Obama, Apple, Elon Musk, and Kim Kardashian West — calling on followers to send bitcoin. Twitter temporarily barred verified users from tweeting to stem the hackers' messages.

"Tough day for us at Twitter. We all feel terrible this happened," CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted on Wednesday night. "We're diagnosing and will share everything we can when we have a more complete understanding of exactly what happened."

Bank of America shares fell slightly after the company reported better-than-expected earnings in the second quarter. The firm set aside $4 billion for loan loss reserves over the period, signaling continued credit-market risk among Wall Street's major banks.

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Morgan Stanley trounced analysts' estimates as strong trading-desk performances boosted profits over the period.

Oil futures traded lower. West Texas Intermediate crude fell as much as 1.5%, to $40.60 per barrel. Brent crude, the international benchmark, declined 1%, to $43.34 per barrel, at intraday lows.

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The market slump followed a moderate uptick across indexes on Wednesday on the back of positive news about a coronavirus vaccine. The biotech firm Moderna announced that all 45 participants in a phase-one trial of its vaccine candidate developed immune-system responses.

Indexes also turned higher after Goldman Sachs easily surpassed second-quarter estimates and posted its second-best quarterly revenue of all time.

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