- US stocks slid Thursday after jobless claims soared to 6.6 million, marking a second straight weekly record as coronavirus spurs layoffs.
- The spike in claims is roughly double the previous record seen last week and trounces economist estimates of 3.5 million new filings.
- Oil prices jumped. Brent crude traded roughly 6% higher Thursday morning after President Trump said he believes Russia and Saudi Arabia can deescalate their oil price war within a few days.
- Watch all major indices update live here.
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:
- S&P 500: 2,461.23, down 0.4%
- Dow Jones industrial average: 20,786.26, down 0.9% (179 points)
- Nasdaq composite: 7,321.94, down 0.5%
Read more: The stock-investing chief overseeing $485 billion for Schwab knows exactly how traders think. He offers 4 crucial tips for weathering the coronavirus storm — and outlines how to keep making money.
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.
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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