- The Dow added a couple of dozen points on Thursday.
- Initial jobless claims shot back above 1 million after a one-week respite.
- Today was excellent for tech stock investors – but it was terrible for Donald Trump.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) salvaged a meager gain on Thursday, largely thanks to Apple and the other few tech stocks in the blue-chip index.
Outside of tech, the stock market was under pressure. Jobless claims jumped back above 1 million for the 21st time in 22 weeks. Elsewhere, President Donald Trump suffered one of his worst days in recent memory.
Dow Jones Struggles Amid Initial Jobless Claims Spike
Thursday’s stock market rally was all about tech, which explains why the Nasdaq was comfortably the leader among Wall Street’s major indices.
Here’s where they stood just ahead of the close:
- The Dow rose 45.84 points or 0.17% to 27,738.72.
- The S&P 500 advanced 0.37% to 3,387.47.
- The Nasdaq surged 1.1% to 11,269.07.
The always hotly anticipated initial jobless claims number came in before the bell this morning. New filings ratcheted up to 1.1 million, proving the descent into six-figure territory was short-lived. This suggests the labor market may be headed in the wrong direction.
On the other hand, Dow bulls cheered a larger-than-expected drop in continuing claims. Watch the video below for more details on today’s data:
IG: Stock Market Will Shrug Off Gloomy Fed
Even the most optimistic investor has to admit that the recovery in U.S. employment is proving to be sluggish at best.
And today’s tepid move in the Dow Jones follows Wednesday’s Federal Reserve-induced reality-check moment.
The FOMC minutes clearly spooked investors, though some analysts believe Wall Street will forget them soon enough. That’s what Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, predicts is going to happen:
The minutes should not be viewed in any hawkish light, but instead seen as a necessary pause for the central bank to reassess the outlook. Markets have been able to weather much bigger problems than a set of central bank minutes, with no indication thus far that the overnight weakness is about to turn into something more substantial.
Donald Trump Has a Day to Forget
This is typically the point in election years when the stock market begins to laser in on political considerations. And boy, did President Donald Trump and the White House have a day to forget.
First, the Department of Justice indicted Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, for fraud. Then, a federal judge ruled the president must hand over his tax returns to the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
Trump has weathered ugly news cycles before, but he’ll need to do more than survive them to chip away at Joe Biden’s 7.6 percentage point lead in the polls.
Right now, he appears determined to relitigate battles with old foes – rather than focus on the one he’ll face in November. Just look at his new campaign ad, which essentially treats Joe Biden as an afterthought:
Welcome, Barack and Crooked Hillary. See you on the field of battle! pic.twitter.com/ZrTKXcc6aU
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 19, 2020
Dow 30 Stocks: Apple Leads a Buoyant Tech Sector
It was a relatively flat day for the overall Dow 30, but underneath the hood, there was some sharp volatility.
Tech was the unquestioned leader. Microsoft jumped 2.4%, while Apple added 2.2% a day after becoming the first company with a $2 trillion market cap. Intel followed close behind with a 2.1% rally.
While Tesla is not a Dow Jones component, it’s impossible to talk about tech and not mention TSLA breaching $2,000 for the first time. Following a historic rally, Elon Musk’s automaker is officially worth more than Walmart.
With most of the gains concentrated in tech, the Dow Jones is becoming an index of the haves and the have nots. Nearly two-thirds of the index traded lower ahead of the closing bell, with seven stocks down at least 1%.