Dow Jones Today Is Flat with Unemployment Filings Back in Focus

The Dow Jones today could stay flat as investors monitor the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. economy.

Stocks poised to benefit from a reopening have slumped as concerns rise over an uptick in coronavirus cases across the country. Investors are still waiting for politicians in Washington to find a compromise on a new round of stimulus. Read on to see what else could move the Dow today.

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 27,976.84 +289.93 +1.05
S&P 500 3,380.35 +46.66 +1.40
Nasdaq 11,012.24 +229.42 +2.13

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

Top Stock Market Stories for Thursday

  • On Thursday, the U.S. Labor Department will report last week's reading on jobless benefits across the United States. Analysts project that another 1.1 million workers signed up for state unemployment benefits for the first time last week. The government issued a similar figure, marking the 20th straight week that initial claims topped 1 million. The new reading comes the same day that Democrats and Republicans remain "miles apart" on a new pandemic relief package, according to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

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  • Johns Hopkins University reports that the number of new COVID-19 cases fell under 50,000 for the third straight day. However, some pundits argue that a decline in testing or questions about the viability of tests are responsible for the drop. The University also said that total "official" cases around the globe topped 20.4 million, with the United States currently has more than 5.1 million cases since the onset of the outbreak.
  • Last, the price of oil is off slightly this morning after a negative report on global oil demand from the International Energy Agency (IEA). The global agency dropped its expected demand for the world economy to 91.1 million barrels per day. That figure represents a decline of 8.1 million barrels per day, year over year (YoY). The agency also cut its expected demand figure for 2021 to 97.1 million (down 240,000 YoY). The agency said that it anticipated a large drop in jet fuel demand. This morning, WTI crude was off slightly at $42.63, while Brent crude fell 0.2% to $45.31.

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  • Shares of Tapestry Inc. (NYSE: TPR) gained 5% after the retailer reported a loss per share of $0.25. That figure is much smaller than the $0.57-per-share loss that analysts had projected. The owner of Kate Spade and Coach stores said that it saw a solid boost in e-commerce during the pandemic. Revenue topped expectations. That said, most retailers remain in trouble due to COVID-19. And outlooks remain bleak for a wealth of companies that don't have a solid balance sheet.
  • Shares of Lyft Inc. (NASDAQ: LYFT) were off 2% after the ride-sharing company reported an $0.86 loss per share for the June-ending quarter. That figure was lower than the $0.99 per share expected by Wall Street. The firm said that COVID-19 impacted its ride demand by a wide margin. However, it has seen ride hailing increase since April. That said, the company and its rival Uber Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: UBER) are reeling after a California judge said that both companies had to classify drivers as employees instead of independent contractors. This would offer access to traditional benefits like workers' compensation and health insurance, say officials and driver advocates. Uber's CEO has suggested that the company might need to shut down its operations in the nation's most populous state.
  • Simon Property Group Inc. (NYSE: SPG) and Brookfield Property Partners LP (NYSE: BPY) are currently in advanced talks to purchase the retail business of J.C. Penney, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal. The shopping center operators are one of J.C. Penney's largest landlords and have a vested interest in seeing the company through its bankruptcy proceedings. Analysts believe that the property companies are looking at the possibility of using the retailer's real estate to function as logistics centers for Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) or another large e-commerce company.

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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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