U.S. stock indexes ended a choppy session Thursday with meager gains to close out a holiday-shortened week, as a record rise in new coronavirus cases in states like Florida helped to erode some of the optimism surrounding a stronger-than-expected monthly employment report for June.
U.S. financial markets will be closed on Friday to observe the July Fourth holiday which falls on Saturday this year.
How did benchmarks perform?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.57% closed 92.39 points, or 0.4%, higher to finish at 25,827.36, while the S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.72% added 14.15 points, or 0.5%, to reach 3,130.01.
Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP -0.87% gained 53 points, or 0.5%, close at 10,207.63, booking its second straight record close but well off its intraday high at 10,310.36.
For the holiday-shortened week, the Dow rose 3.3%, the S&P 500 notched a return of 4%, while the Nasdaq logged a 4.6% weekly return.
What drove the market?
Market participants were reluctant to drive the broad market significantly higher on Thursday after Reuters reported that Florida shattered records on Thursday when it reported over 10,000 new coronavirus cases, representing the biggest one-day increase in the state since the pandemic started.
Markets also lost some momentum after a report indicated that a final-stage trial of a Moderna /zigman2/quotes/205619834/composite MRNA -0.05% coronavirus vaccine candidate was delayed, according to a report from STAT News .
The pandemic news gradually chipped away at what was shaping up to be a potent rally for equities following upbeat reports on the U.S. labor market.
Labor Department data showed that the U.S. added back 4.8 million jobs in June compared with expectations for a rise of 3.7 million and the unemployment rate fell for the second straight month to 11.1%.
Millions of Americans have returned to work since states began to reopen business activity in May, but the economy isn’t back to normal. The U.S. lost more than 22 million jobs during the height of the public-health crisis and only restored 7.5 million of them in the past two months.
Meanwhile, weekly data also published Thursday showed new applications for traditional jobless benefits continued to slow, falling to 14.3 million in the seven days ended June 27 from 1.48 million in the prior week. However, the number of people receiving traditional jobless benefits rose 59,000 in the week ended June 20 to 19.29 million.
President Donald Trump called the data “spectacular news,” during a briefing at the White House Thursday morning. “Today’s announcement proves that our economy is roaring back” from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.
The labor-market report represents a positive for the economy that has been battered by business closures to beat back the viral outbreak, but analysts reacted cautiously because the data doesn’t reflect some of the rollbacks of restrictions on business activity by states experiencing a resurgence of new cases.
The U.S. saw 52,000 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, a new one-day record in the U.S., implying that the battle against the spread of the virus is far from over, which will make a V-shaped, or rapid and sharp, economic recovery nearly impossible.