Most investors took on a fairly cautious outlook on Thursday, with two of the three major U.S. stock market indices losing ground. Unphased, the tech-heavy Nasdaq hit yet another record closing high, adding 0.5% and closing at 10,547.
Initial jobless claims for last week clocked in at 1.3 million, slightly below the 1.4 million seen the week prior but still far worse than any numbers before 2020 rolled along.
Energy, financials and industrials led nine of the 11 S&P 500 sectors lower on Thursday, with only consumer discretionary and information technology finishing in the black.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 361 points, or 1.4%, to finish at 25,706.
Oil falling again. The price of oil, which had been staging a rip-roaring comeback from unprecedented lows a couple of months ago when contracts went negative for the first time ever, took a meaningful hit on Thursday.
Arguably the key input for any large-scale modern economy, oil prices in 2020 have been pressured by Russia and Saudi Arabia’s unwillingness to cut production on the supply side and a careening demand for energy due to pandemic-induced shutdowns.
With global markets seeming to cast an increasingly skeptical eye upon the reopening narrative as the United States experiences another wave of the virus, crude oil lost about 3.2% on Thursday, sliding back below $40 a barrel.
Mohawk in decline. Shares of Mohawk Industries (ticker: MHK), a giant in commercial and residential flooring products, lost 20% Thursday as the market came to grips with the degree of risk that a class-action lawsuit poses.
JPMorgan analyst Michael Rehaut noted that even setting aside the obvious financial risks of the claims being true — the company is accused of inflating revenue and boosting margins by intentionally overproducing and sending distributors more inventory than they could sell — the lawsuit would likely take several months to sort out.
The longer that higher degree of risk hangs over the stock, the longer prudent investors will have to discount Mohawk’s stock price accordingly. MHK was one of worst performers in the S&P 500.
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