US stocks open mixed amid Dow 30,000 level reached. US equities opened the day mixed after the Dow finished above the 30,000 milestone and the S&P 500 and Russell 2000 indexes closed at record highs in Tuesday’s trading. Even with the recent vaccine progress, the effects of higher COVID-19 case numbers across the nation and ongoing political uncertainty still influence market participants.
- Financials were boosted by a rally in bank shares.
- Asian stocks finished their day mixed. China ended their session 1% lower.
- European equities are mostly lower through midday trading.
Jobless claims higher than expected. Weekly jobless claims jumped by more than 30,000 for the second straight week (source: US Department of Labor). The rise in jobless claims comes amid fresh restrictions to contain the latest wave of COVID-19. This data point adds to mounting evidence that the economic recovery is pausing.
- 778,000 Americans filed for unemployment insurance, above Bloomberg estimates for 730,000.
- Continuing claims marginally missed estimates, coming in at 6.07 million versus estimates of 6.0 million and roughly 300K below the prior week.
Technical update. Large cap US equities broke out of a two-week range, with the S&P 500 Index and Dow Jones both posting record closing highs on Tuesday.
- The Dow crossed 30,000 for the first time ever.
- The Russell 2000 Index made a record high for the second day in a row.
- The NASDAQ lagged, but still gained 1.3% and closed just shy of its September 2 record high.
- Oil prices broke out of a five-month range, moving above $44 per barrel for the first time since early March and furthering the energy sector’s November gain to more than 38%.
COVID-19 news. New cases in the US rose 7.7% over the prior week to 166,672, a four-day high, while the seven-day average rose 9.9% week over week, well below the 40% readings earlier this month and 30% readings only a week ago. Hospitalizations jumped 30.6% over the prior week, while the change in the seven-day average jumped from 8.8% on Monday to 15.2% on Tuesday (source: COVID Tracking Project).
- US federal health officials are considering shortening the recommended 14-day quarantine period.
- Germany is expected to extend its partial lockdown until December 20.
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