KEY POINTS

  • Mitch McConnell said White House and Democrats were in disagreement over various parts of the relief bill.
  • Initial weekly jobless claims totaled nearly 1.19 million last week, well below Wall Street expectations
  • Continuing claims  decreased by 844,000 to 16.1 million.

U.S. stocks climbed on Thursday as traders awaited progress on stimulus talks in Washington.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 185.46 points to 27,386.98 while the S&P 500 gained 21.39 points to 3,349.16 and the Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 109.67 points to 11,108.07.

Thursday’s volume on the New York Stock Exchange totaled 3.64 billion shares with 1,443 issues advancing, 112 setting new highs, and 1,526 declining, with six stocks setting new lows.

Active movers were led by American Airlines (AAL), ADiTx Therapeutics Inc. (ADTX) and Carnival Corp. (CCL).

Traders are anxiously awaiting a compromise stimulus package from Washington lawmakers.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told CNBC that the White House and Democrats were in disagreement over various parts of the relief bill.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized Republicans. “Perhaps you mistook [Republicans] for somebody who gives a damn,” she said. But she added that they will find a solution to the impasse.

“If we don’t have a [stimulus] deal, we’ve got to have a sell-off,” CNBC’s Jim Cramer warned. “It’s not like we can just avoid a deal and say it doesn’t matter. And that’s what I’m getting concerned about.”

Investors were also looking toward Friday’s jobs report.

Initial weekly jobless claimed totaled nearly 1.19 million last week, well below Wall Street expectations of 1.42 million. Continuing claims – that is, those people who have received unemployment benefits for two straight weeks, decreased by 844,000 to 16.1 million.

Joe Weisenthal of Bloomberg tweeted: “Big beat on initial jobless claims. Continuing claims head lower. Still incredibly high, but great to see the downtrend resume.”

“The overall tone of the jobless claims data is the best it has been in [three] weeks or so,” said Thomas Simons, money market economist at Jefferies. “The decline is the biggest since the week of June 6, so the data does not have the same sort of ‘stalling out’ theme that we have seen in recent weeks. However, one cannot help but notice the date of the reference week, Aug. 1, which is the day after the $600 per week enhanced benefit provided by the CARES Act expired. So, is the drop this week related to an improvement in the labor market? Or is it related to folks who had some agency in their employment situation electing to collect the benefit rather than return to work now no longer being able to do so?”

Overnight in Asia markets finished mixed, as China’s Shanghai Composite index gained 0.26%, Japan’s Nikkei-225 slipped 0.43% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng exchange fell 0.69%.

In Europe markets finished lower, as Britain’s FTSE-100 fell 1.27% while France’s CAC-40 dropped 0.98% and Germany’s DAX slipped 0.54%.

Crude oil futures slipped 0.5% at $41.98 per barrel, Brent crude edged up 0.09% at $45.13. Gold futures jumped 1.25%.

The euro rose 0.13% at $1.1879 while the pound sterling climbed 0.23% at $1.3143.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell 1.29% to 0.536% while yield on the 30-year Treasury dropped 1.48% to 1.201%.