Dow Jones Industrial Average Volatile as Jobless Claims Spike Over 3 Million

The Dow Jones Industrial Average faces a battle today after the U.S. Department of Labor reported more than 3 million jobless claims. They expected 1.5 million.

The Great Recession jobless peak was 665,000. The ongoing coronavirus crisis has decimated the hospitality, retail, restaurant, and airline industries, in addition to secondary businesses that cater to these sectors. Read on for details.

Before we dive into the latest stories and more, here are the numbers from Wednesday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:

Index Previous Close Point Change Percentage Change
Dow Jones 21,200.55 495.64 2.39
S&P 500 2,475.56 28.23 1.15
Nasdaq 7,384.30 -33.56 -0.45

Now here's a closer look at what I'm following today. These are the most important market events and stocks.

The Top Stock Market Stories for Thursday

  • This morning, markets are preparing for a record jump in the number of weekly jobless claims. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) has projected that the number of Americans seeking benefits this week could jump to 3.4 million. Last week, U.S. jobless claims hit 281,000. This news comes after the U.S. Senate passed a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package that includes direct payments to Americans and provides hundreds of billions in support to U.S. industries negatively impacted by the ongoing economic crisis.

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  • Meanwhile, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said that the U.S. central bank will not "run out of ammunition" when it comes to supporting the markets. In an interview with NBC's "Today" show, the Fed Chair said it will provide capital to American companies and help stabilize the economy after the virus has been controlled. The Fed has taken unprecedented steps in recent weeks to provide support to the markets and economy in the form of repo injections, interest rate cuts, and quantitative easing.
  • Finally, the number of U.S. coronavirus cases surged to more than 69,100, with the number of deaths topping 1,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. The university said that New York State now has 33,000 cases. The ongoing rise comes amid a national debate on when would be appropriate to reopen the economy. President Trump has pushed for Americans to return to work after the Easter Holiday. However, health experts have said this could require significantly longer, and some encourage that Americans continue to engage in social distancing for at least 10 weeks.

Stock to Watch Today: WEN, UNH, MU

  • Shares of Wendy's Co. (NYSE: WEN) are in focus after the company announced that same-store sales fell 20% for the most recent week. With its dining room closed, Wendy's has relied entirely on drive-thru and digital orders at most of its locations. With its recent struggles, the firm is the latest to draw down its full line of credit.
  • UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) has developed its own coronavirus test that will allow patients to self-administer it. The new test could dramatically reduce exposure to healthcare workers.
  • Shares of Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU) are up 4.2% this morning after the semiconductor giant topped earnings expectations. The firm reported earnings of $0.45, besting expectations by $0.08. In addition, the firm easily beat revenue forecasts and offered a better-than-expected forecast for the year ahead.

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About the Author

Garrett Baldwin is a globally recognized research economist, financial writer, consultant, and political risk analyst with decades of trading experience and degrees in economics, cybersecurity, and business from Johns Hopkins, Purdue, Indiana University, and Northwestern.

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