NEW YORK: The S&P 500 and the Dow edged lower on Thursday as new coronavirus restrictions and an unexpected rise in weekly jobless claims raised fears of stalling economic growth in the absence of new stimulus measures. The report from the Labour Department, the most timely data on the economy's health, also showed at least 20.3 million people on unemployment benefits at the end of October, seven months after the pandemic hit the United States.
The S&P 500 index was set for its third straight session of losses, retreating further from its record closing high hit on Monday following positive data on a coronavirus vaccine. Investors have also become wary of the economic damage inflicted by tightening business restrictions as Covid-19 cases continue to climb.
Market participants are now looking to the Federal Reserve for signs it could step in with fresh monetary stimulus. At 12:05 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.41% and the S&P 500 was down 0.13%. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.55%, with technology mega-caps Tesla Inc, Alphabet Inc and Amazon.com Inc rising between 0.4% and 3.1%. Value stocks, which include banks and industrials, slipped 0.6%, while growth-linked stocks, which are perceived to be less risky, logged small gains.