TOPLINE

The market had a mixed open on Thursday, as stocks got a boost from lower-than-expected jobless claims but investors also watched for updates on the next round of coronavirus stimulus from U.S. lawmakers.

KEY FACTS

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.2%, over 50 points, on Thursday morning, while the S&P 500 rose 0.1% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.2%.

Stock market futures pared back earlier losses and briefly turned positive after better-than-expected unemployment data: The Labor Department said that nearly 1.2 million Americans filed initial jobless claims during the week ending August 1.

Not only did that beat Wall Street estimates of 1.4 million, but it’s also the lowest levels of weekly jobless claims since the coronavirus pandemic began.

The jobs data comes as investors closely watch for progress on a new coronavirus stimulus bill, but Congress remains deadlocked over key issues like extending federal unemployment benefits, which expired last week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told CNBC on Thursday that despite stalled negotiations, he expects an agreement on the next round of coronavirus relief to be reached “in the near future.”

Tangent

Rocket Companies, the parent company of Quicken Loans, is set to make its public market debut on Thursday. The IPO will price at $18 per share, lower than the expected range of $20 to $22 per share. Chairman and co founder Dan Gilbert, who also owns the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, has a net worth of $7.5 billion, according to Forbes’ estimates.

What to watch for

Meanwhile, amid increasing tensions between the world’s two largest economies, top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi criticized the United States for trying to start a new Cold War that would plunge the world into “chaos and division.” Worsening relations between the two countries have recently focused on the technology space, with the United States accusing Huawei—and more recently, social media app TikTok—of being threats to American national security; Wang called the moves a “textbook example of bullying.” The Trump administration earlier this week endorsed tech giant Microsoft to buy TikTok’s operations in a number of English-language countries, a move which sparked outrage in China.

Further reading

Jobless Claims Fall Slightly As Lawmakers Bicker Over Expired $600 Weekly Unemployment Payment (Forbes)

Second Stimulus: Here’s What It Looks Like It Will Include (Forbes)

Here’s What China Says About TikTok Being Sold To Microsoft, Potential Ban (Forbes)

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