KEY POINTS

  • Initial weekly jobless totaled nearly 1.19 million last week
  • It marked the 20th consecutive week the figure exceeded 1 million
  • Bank of England kept interest rates unchanged at 0.1%.

U.S. stocks slipped on Thursday as traders mulled over another grim initial jobless claims report while awaiting progress on stimulus talks in Washington.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 33.7 points to 27,167.82, while the S&P 500 slipped 4.16 points to 3,323.61 and the Nasdaq Composite Index edged down 4.05 points to 10,994.35.

Initial weekly jobless claims totaled nearly 1.19 million last week, well below Wall Street expectations of 1.42 million. The figure was also the lowest of the COVID-19 era, although it marked the 20th consecutive week the figure exceeded 1 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.”

Bank of England kept interest rate unchanged at 0.1% on Thursday.

On Wednesday night, President Donald Trump said he would be amenable to providing more federal assistance to the troubled U.S. airlines industry.

“I think it’s very important that we keep the airlines going,” Trump said. “We don’t want to lose our airlines. If they’re looking at that whether they’re Republican or Democrat I’d be certainly in favor. We can’t lose our transportation system.”

White House officials and congressional Democrats will continue talks over a new stimulus package.

The White House offered to extend enhanced federal unemployment insurance into December at $400 per week. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief Of Staff Mark Meadows also offered to extend an eviction moratorium in federally backed housing into December.

However, on Wednesday, Meadows told CNN Trump might issue an executive order to extend both jobless benefits and the eviction moratorium if Democrats and the White House cannot reach a deal.

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 traded lower, as Britain’s FTSE-100 fell 1.47%, while France’s CAC-40 dropped 0.87% and Germany’s DAX slipped 0.25%.

Crude oil futures gained 0.83% to $42.54 per barrel, Brent crude rose 0.89% to $45.57. Gold futures jumped 1.14%.

The euro fell 0.13% to $1.1848 while the pound sterling rose 0.42% to $1.3168.