FILE PHOTO - Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 20, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson


US stocks slid Thursday as investors digested oil’s relief rally and a second straight week of record jobless claims.

Unemployment claims soared to 6.6 million for the period ended March 28, doubling the record reached the prior week and further revealing the extent of coronavirus-driven layoffs. Economists expected claims for the week ended March 28 to reach 3.5 million, according to a Bloomberg survey.

The strained labor market also faces pressure on the employers’ side. Businesses slashed nearly half a million job postings last week as virus containment measures led firms to freeze hiring activity, according to Glassdoor economist Daniel Zhao.

Here’s where major US indexes stood shortly after the market open at 9:30 a.m. ET Thursday:

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Brent crude traded roughly 7% higher to $26.57 a barrel Thursday morning. West Texas Intermediate, the US oil standard, jumped about 8%, bringing its price back to around $22 a barrel. The rebound follows weeks of heavy selling and fear of major pressure on the already-struggling energy sector.

The commodity soared after President Trump said Thursday that he expects an oil-market truce between Saudi Arabia and Russia within a few days.

The two nations have repeatedly boosted oil production and lowered prices to claw market share in the critical market. The conflict pushed Brent crude to 18-year lows by the end of March and threatened additional economic turmoil beyond the coronavirus’s effects.

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Thursday’s price action follows a 4.4% slide in the previous trading session. Markets tanked on the first day of the second quarter after President Trump told Americans to prepare for a “very, very painful two weeks.” New projections from the White House see virus deaths landing between 100,000 and 240,000 as the outbreak intensifies throughout the nation.

The US is host to more than 216,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with its death toll swelling past 5,100 as of Thursday morning.

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