KEY POINTS

  • About 1.88 million Americans filed for unemployment insurance claims last week
  • Over the past 11 weeks, 43 million people have filed for unemployment
  • European Central Bank introduced a new €600 billion ($675 billion) bond buying program

Update: 12:05 p.m. EDT:

U.S. stocks remained mostly in the red as of noon on Thursday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 3.19 points to 26,273.08, while the S&P 500 fell 8.49 points to 3,114.38 and the Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 36.96 points to 9,645.95.

In Europe markets finished lower, as Britain’s FTSE-100 fell 0.64%, while France’s CAC-40 dropped 0.21% and Germany’s DAX slipped 0.45%.

Original story:

U.S. stocks fell on Thursday as traders took a breather from the recent rally and mulled another grim jobless claims report.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 85.43 points to 26,184.46, while the S&P 500 fell 13.47 points to 3,109.40 and the Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 32.58 points to 9,650.33.

About 1.88 million Americans filed for unemployment insurance claims last week. It marked the first time in ten weeks that the figure fell below 2 million. Over the past 11 weeks, 43 million people have filed for unemployment.

Continuing claims totaled 21.5 million, a gain of 649,000 over the prior week.

Daniel Zhao, an economist and data scientist at  Glassdoor, tweeted: “Good that the number is falling, but still elevated -- hardly a number to celebrate.”

However, Catarina Saraiva, an economics reporter, pointed out that “at least half a million PUA unemployment claims (this is the program for self-employed and gig workers) are not reflected in the federal benefits tallies.”

The European Central Bank introduced a new €600 billion ($675 billion) bond buying program. Purchases will continue through the end of June 2021. The total pandemic emergency purchase program will be worth €1.35 trillion ($1.52 trillion).

Protests over the killing of George Floyd by police enter their tenth day.

“May could well end up being the turning point for the viral crisis. The month ended with the virus seemingly under control and with the economy reopening faster than expected,” wrote Brad McMillan, chief investment officer at Commonwealth Financial Network. “June will tell us whether that trend continues. But right now? Things look much better than we could have expected a month ago.”

Overnight in Asia, markets finished mixed. The Shanghai Composite slipped 0.14%; Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged up 0.17%; while Japan’s Nikkei-225 gained 0.36%.

In Europe markets traded lower, as Britain’s FTSE-100 fell 0.64%, while France’s CAC-40 dropped 0.37% and Germany’s DAX slipped 0.61%.

Crude oil futures slipped 1.34% at $36.79 per barrel, Brent crude slipped 0.83% at $39.46. Gold futures rose 0.94%.

The euro gained 0.23% at $1.126 while the pound sterling slipped 0.27% at $1.2542.