Wall Street Opens Mixed, Muted Impact from Jobless Claims; Dow Down 100 Pts

© Reuters.

By Geoffrey Smith — U.S. stock markets opened mostly lower on Thursday, unimpressed by another week of initial jobless claims under 300,000 and undecided over the quality of the earnings being reported by the country’s blue-chip stocks.

Tesla (NASDAQ:), medical device group Danaher (NYSE:) and railroad operator Union Pacific (NYSE:) all fell despite reporting earnings that were, at first glance at least, better than street forecasts, while PayPal (NASDAQ:) continued to suffer from concerns about its mooted merger with Pinterest (NYSE:), and IBM (NYSE:) stock slumped after reporting another underwhelming quarter.

By 9:40 AM ET (1340 GMT), the was down 99 points, or 0.3%, while the was down 0.2% and the was up 0.1%. 

Tesla stock quickly reversed, however, as the market quickly digested any caution implicit in the company’s guidance, which contrasted with the strong figures reported. Goldman Sachs (NYSE:), Credit Suisse (SIX:) and RBC all raised their price targets on the stock after an analyst call from which CEO Elon Musk was absent. 

The most eye-catching gainer in early trading was Digital World Acquisition (NASDAQ:), which rose 39% after former President Donald Trump announced he would merge his new social media platform, TRUTH Social, with the recently-listed SPAC.  

AT&T Inc (NYSE:) stock was another gainer, the media and telecoms giant rising 0.6% after it reported adding over 900,000 net new mobile subscribers in the quarter, more than double the comparable figure from Verizon (NYSE:) earlier in the week. Subscriptions at HBO Max also held up globally, despite falling in the U.S. as it was removed from Amazon (NASDAQ:)’s Prime service.

Earlier, the Labor Department had said that initial jobless claims inched down to a new post-pandemic low of 290,000, from an upwardly-revised 296,000 the previous week. Continuing claims also hit a post-pandemic low of 2.48 million. That lent some reassurance as regards the strength of the labor market, and it was corroborated by the employment index in the Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s monthly survey of business conditions. The new orders component also rose sharply, pushing the business conditions index up to 30.8, while the prices paid index rose to above 70, a level it had only crossed twice in 40 years before this year’s recovery.

Elsewhere, BioNTech (NASDAQ:) stock rose 3.2% but Pfizer (NYSE:) stock fell 0.7% after the two companies reported a high efficacy rate for booster shots of its Covid-19 vaccine in a large-scale clinical test. The fading of protection against Covid-19 over time was the reason behind the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to approve ‘booster shots’ of vaccines made by Moderna (NASDAQ:) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:) on Wednesday, expanding the addressable market for both drugs.

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