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18 Feb 2021 | 22:18

US close: Stocks finish weaker as jobless claims miss forecasts

(Sharecast News) - Stocks on Wall Street closed in negative territory on Thursday, as the Labor Department's weekly jobless claims report fell short of estimates. At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.38% at 31,493.34, the S&P 500 lost 0.44% to 3,913.97, and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.72% weaker at 13,865.36.

The Dow closed 119.68 points lower on Thursday, reversing gains recorded in the previous session.

Thursday's primary focus was the jobless claims report from the Labor Department, which revealed that weekly jobless claims data in the US had come in well ahead of economists' forecasts.

In seasonally-adjusted terms the number of Americans filing for unemployment claims rose by 13,000 to 861,000 over the week finishing on 13 February.

Economists were expecting to see 773,000 new claims, a modest decrease week-on-week.

The previous week's estimate was revised higher by 55,000 to 848,000, while the four-week moving average of initial claims slipped by 3,500 to 833,250, and secondary unemployment claims slipped by 64,000 to 4.49m.

Market participants were also closely watching Treasury yields, currently nearing one-year highs, as well as surging oil and gas prices amid a cold snap in the state of Texas.

On the macro front, import prices jumped past forecasts at the start of 2021, led by rising energy prices, according to the Department of Labor, which said US import prices increased at a month-on-month pace of 1.4% and a year-on-year print of 0.9%.

Energy prices drove the increase, rising at an 8.1% clip on the month, alongside a 0.4% rise in food inflation.

Elsewhere, homebuilders in the US broke ground on fewer homes than expected in January.

According to the Department of Commerce, in seasonally-adjusted terms, the annualised rate of housing starts fell at a month-on-month pace of 6.0% to reach 1.58m, short of consensus estimates for a reading of 1.65m.

Lastly, manufacturing activity in the US mid-Atlantic region continued to grow at a brisk pace in February, the results of a closely-watched survey revealed.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's factory sector index, which is derived from a survey, slipped from a reading of 26.5 in January to 23.1 for February, short of consensus estimates for a reading of 19.8.

In the corporate space, Hormel Foods was 1.13% higher as it posted a 5% drop in quarterly pre-tax earnings despite reporting record net sales of $2.5bn.

Retail behemoth Walmart lost 6.67% after its earnings also missed expectations, although it did report a 69% increase in e-commerce sales amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Blue Apron plunged 16.29% after it unveiled a fourth-quarter loss of $11.9m despite stating revenues were boosted by meal-kit demand.

Dow Jones - Risers

3M Co. (MMM) $179.37 1.54% Coca-Cola Co. (KO) $50.77 1.28% McDonald's Corp. (MCD) $215.43 0.93% Visa Inc. (V) $209.35 0.89% Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) $129.53 0.83% Honeywell International Inc. (HON) $203.52 0.80% Nike Inc. (NKE) $145.09 0.76% Home Depot Inc. (HD) $283.05 0.76% International Business Machines Corporation (CDI) (IBM) $120.73 0.63% Unitedhealth Group Inc. (UNH) $328.41 0.47%

Dow Jones - Fallers

Walmart Inc. (WMT) $137.66 -6.48% Boeing Co. (BA) $208.48 -3.27% Walt Disney Co. (DIS) $183.00 -1.85% Dow Chemical Co. (DOW) $57.56 -1.67% Amgen Inc. (AMGN) $232.53 -1.31% Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (WBA) $48.92 -1.29% Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) $199.92 -1.18% Chevron Corp. (CVX) $95.00 -0.96% Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) $309.90 -0.91% Apple Inc. (AAPL) $129.71 -0.86%

S&P 500 - Risers

FirstEnergy Corp. (FE) $34.25 7.20% Kraft Heinz Co. (KHC) $38.96 5.24% LKQ Corporation (LKQ) $38.61 4.98% Dish Network Corp. (DISH) $33.85 4.15% Advance Auto Parts (AAP) $167.55 3.54% Automatic Data Processing Inc. (ADP) $172.60 3.27% Micron Technology Inc. (MU) $88.54 2.89% Kellogg Co. (K) $59.53 2.58% Jack Henry & Associates Inc. (JKHY) $152.71 2.57% O'Reilly Automotive Inc. (ORLY) $458.52 2.47%

S&P 500 - Fallers

Albemarle Corp. (ALB) $141.46 -10.17% FMC Technologies Inc. (FTI) $7.02 -10.00% Wabtec Corp. (WAB) $72.06 -9.19% Mosaic Company (MOS) $27.65 -9.14% Cimarex Energy Co (XEC) $49.50 -7.20% Walmart Inc. (WMT) $137.66 -6.48% Fluor Corp. (FLR) $16.48 -5.77% Apache Corp. (APA) $17.63 -5.67% Devon Energy Corp. (DVN) $20.54 -5.48% Occidental Petroleum Corp. (OXY) $25.28 -5.42%

Nasdaq 100 - Risers

Kraft Heinz Co. (KHC) $38.96 5.24% Dish Network Corp. (DISH) $33.85 4.15% Automatic Data Processing Inc. (ADP) $172.60 3.27% Micron Technology Inc. (MU) $88.54 2.89% O'Reilly Automotive Inc. (ORLY) $458.52 2.47% Paychex Inc. (PAYX) $91.28 2.35% Mondelez International Inc. (MDLZ) $56.13 2.20% J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. (JBHT) $146.90 2.14% Idexx Laboratories Inc. (IDXX) $551.79 2.12% Western Digital Corp. (WDC) $68.71 2.10%

Nasdaq 100 - Fallers

Synopsys Inc. (SNPS) $270.95 -4.51% Microchip Technology Inc. (MCHP) $156.54 -3.99% Baidu Inc. (BIDU) $298.01 -3.46% Biomarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (BMRN) $83.27 -2.95% Incyte Corp. (INCY) $81.55 -2.65% Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VRTX) $209.83 -2.34% Skyworks Solutions Inc. (SWKS) $187.91 -2.18% Paypal Holdings Inc (PYPL) $290.81 -2.15% Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. (CTSH) $74.82 -2.11% NetEase Inc. Ads (NTES) $124.32 -2.03%
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