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The Dow Jones is now flat after the U.S. Labor Department announced 2.4 million new unemployment claims.
We're also covering the latest minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve. What's the plan for interest rates? Read on to find out.
First, here are the numbers from Wednesday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
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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
- Johns Hopkins University reported that global cases of coronavirus topped 5 million on Thursday. The figure comes as nations begin to ease social distancing guidelines and start reopening their economies. More than 65% of international cases were from just four nations. The United States reported more than 45,000 new cases on Tuesday. Russia, whose figures appear to under-count totals based on the ratio of sick healthcare workers, topped 9,200 on the same day.
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- This morning, we're looking at another update from the U.S. Labor Department on the state of the jobs market. First-time filers for unemployment during COVID-19 came in at 2.43 million, a figure that was basically in line with the 2.4 million expected by economists. It's worth noting that this is the seventh straight week of declines since the record peak of 6.9 million in late March.
- Yesterday, the U.S. Federal Reserve released its minutes from the April FOMC meeting. The central bank discussed a range of possibilities to keep the Fed funds rate between 0% and 0.25% for the foreseeable future. With interest rates flat, the discussion in the market isn't about how and when the Fed might raise interest rates. The real chatter centers around the possibility that interest rates go negative in order to spur consumption and drive demand across the economy.
Stock to Watch Today: AZN, M, BBY
- AstraZeneca Plc. (NYSE: AZN) shares are in focus after the company received more than $1 billion from the U.S. Health Department's Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. The agency has given the biotech company $1 billion to accelerate the development of a vaccine from the University of Oxford. The drug maker agreed to supply roughly 400 million doses of the vaccine and ramp that production up to 1 billion doses. Deliveries will begin in September.
- Shares of Macy's Inc. (NYSE: M) were flat on news that the company reported a $1.1 billion loss during the first quarter. The ongoing downturn fueled by COVID-19 shuttered stores across the country. The company's CEO, Jeff Gennette, said he expects business will "recover gradually." Macy's has been working to raise debt and boost liquidity to get through the current economic crisis. The firm will reopen most stores by late June.
- Shares of Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) fell by 3.4% after the company reported earnings per share of $0.67 for the first quarter. That figure topped expectations of $0.44. Although the company also topped revenue expectations, same-store sales dropped by 5.3% during the quarter.
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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.