The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 76 points, or 0.29%, in the opening minutes of trading while the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite were weaker by 0.36% and 0.64%, respectively. All three of indexes lost at least 1.97% Wednesday as selling picked up in the final hour of trading.
Looking at the economy, initial jobless claims for the week ended Sept. 19 rose by 4,000 to a worse-than-expected 870,000. Wall Street analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting a reading of 840,000.
Continuing claims, meanwhile, fell to 12.58 million from an upwardly revised 12.747 million, but were above the 12.3 million that was expected.
Looking at stocks, Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. will have enough data from their late-stage trials to submit their experimental COVID-19 vaccines for approval in October, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Thursday. The U.S. expects to have 100 million doses available by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, mega-cap tech companies, including Apple Inc., Amazon Inc. and Microsoft Corp., which have steered the market’s direction remained under pressure after the Department of Justice announced Wednesday it was looking into ways to protect Americans from social media abuse and to combat censorship of lawful speech online.
Tesla Inc. shares continued to skid in the wake of the company’s underwhelming Battery Day event that on Tuesday evening unveiled new technology but failed to deliver on the 1 million-mile battery that Wall Street analysts were hoping for.
Nikola Corp. shares were lower after short-seller Hindenburg Research head Nathan Anderson told The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday afternoon that more news will emerge about the electric-truck maker. Hindenburg earlier this month accused Nikola of misleading investors about its technology, a claim that was denied by founder Trevor Milton before he stepped down as executive chairman.
Elsewhere, TV station operator E.W. Scripps Co. is closing in on a deal to acquire ION Media for $2.65 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is planning a $600 million preferred investment in Scripps to help the company complete the purchase.
Looking at earnings, Darden Restaurants Inc. reported mixed quarterly results as same-store sales slumped 28% at Olive Garden, which accounts for about half of revenue, 18% at Longhorn Steakhouse and 38.9% at its fine-dining establishments, including The Capital Grille. The restaurant-chain operator sees sales in the current quarter off 18% from a year ago, ahead of estimates.
Looking at commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil was weaker by 28 cents at $39.65 per barrel while gold was down $9.60 to $1,858.80 an ounce.
U.S. Treasurys ticked higher, pushing the yield on the 10-year note down 1 basis point to 0.666%.
European markets were a little lower with Britain’s FTSE off 0.77%, France’s CAC down 0.47% and Germany’s DAX off 0.25%.
In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slumped 1.82%, China’s Shanghai Composite slid 1.72% and Japan’s Nikkei lost 1.11%.