Home Markets News & Opinions Dow Jones Struggles as U.S. Unemployment Continues to Climb

Dow Jones Struggles as U.S. Unemployment Continues to Climb

Francois Aure
Last Updated September 23, 2020 2:01 PM
  • The Dow Jones fell slightly points on Thursday.
  • Initial jobless claims missed Wall Street estimates once again.
  • Mike Pompeo is still trying to keep the “Phase One Deal” with China alive.

The Dow Jones slipped again on Thursday. A quiet day of trade showed bulls struggling to lift the index higher. Another weak initial jobless claims release was little help to the Dow, as economists continue to stress that the unemployment situation is deeply concerning.

Dow Momentum Sputters After Another Bad Jobless Claims Report

All three major U.S. stock market indices  traded lower on Thursday. The best performing was the Nasdaq, with a 0.05% loss, while the S&P 500 and Dow Jones both slumped around 0.2%.

Dow Jones, Stock Market,
The Dow Jones struggled sideways for another session. | Source: Yahoo Finance 

U.S.  jobless claims were worse than expected last week . Yet again, the Dow Jones proved resilient in the face of dismal unemployment numbers.

At some point, Wall Street may be forced to confront the employment fundamentals. For now, investors appear confident that large swathes of these job losses will be coming back. Whether they do is yet to be seen.

Economist James Knightley at ING  sees plenty to be concerned about, as both the data and the Fed suggest that things are far from rosy:

Today’s numbers suggest that the reopening story may not be generating as much momentum for job creation as the surprise May payrolls number had suggested. It also tallies with comments yesterday from the Cleveland Fed’s Loretta Mester and Atlanta Fed’s Raphael Bostic. Mester implied firms are recalling workers more slowly than originally intended, and the initial deterioration was “even steeper” than official statistics implied.

Perhaps the most concerning fundamental for the jobs market is the surge in virus cases in states like Texas and Arizona.

A large portion of the lost jobs are in the service sector, and even before cases started picking up, there was evidence that restaurant bookings were sliding again.

Restaurant bookings
Restaurant bookings have started to slide again in the U.S. | Source: Twitter 

Philadelphia Fed manufacturing comfortably beat forecasts , suggesting that some kind of rebound remains underway in the sector.

Pompeo Attempts To Keep China Trade Deal Alive

There was also some potentially good political news for stocks. The Trump administration appears to be doing its best to de-escalate tension with China.

Stock Market, Phase One Deal
The Trump administration is doing its best to enforce the Phase One Deal with China. | Source: Twitter 

Mike Pompeo claimed on Twitter that Beijing remains committed to the “Phase One Deal.” This is a claim that will be hotly debated. 

Dow 30 Stocks: Apple Flat, Big Oil Rises

While there were no big losers, it was a generally poor day for the Dow 30  as most of its members fell. Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) incredible momentum finally slowed, as the tech giant hung around flat on the day.

Boeing (NYSE:BA) lost 0.5% on a rare day of low volatility for the aerospace giant. Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) fell 1% as yields remain near record lows.

Despite optimism for a vaccine , Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) continues to struggle, as the pharmaceutical giant lost 1%.