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US stocks close down after S&P 500, Dow pull back from highs in late-day fade

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

  • US stocks turned lower late in the trading session Thursday after the S&P 500 touched another new high.
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average also retreated from a record, snapping its six-day winning streak.
  • Markets were up early after the Labor Department reported a drop in weekly jobless claims.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

US stocks closed down Thursday after giving up gains late in the trading session, denying the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average new record highs.

Earlier in the day, the benchmark index appeared poised to notch its 71st record close of the year. The Dow also retreated from a fresh high, snapping its six-day winning streak.

The stock market will have another chance to finish the year on a high note. It will be open on New Year’s Eve despite it being a federal holiday. The bond market will close early, at 2 p.m. ET.

Here’s where US indexes stood shortly after the 4:00 p.m. ET close on Thursday:

  • S&P 500: 4,778.73, down 0.30%
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: 36,398.08, down 0.25% (90.55 points)
  • Nasdaq Composite: 15,741.56, down 0.16%

Markets got a slight boost early Thursday after the Labor Department reported jobless claims fell by 8,000 to 198,000, better than forecasts for 205,000. The four-week moving average of 199,250 was the lowest since October 1969.

The improvement came despite a spike in coronavirus infections as the Omicron and Delta variants continue surging. The seven-day rolling average of new cases has jumped 60% from the previous week to about 240,000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday.

What’s more, White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said the latest COVID-19 wave in the US, where Omicron is now the most common variant, could peak by late January.

And as the year comes to a close, investors are already positioning themselves for 2022, when they expect to see persistent supply-chain glitches, uncertainty regarding mid-term elections, and a Federal Reserve on the verge of raising interest rates.

“Tapering and quantitative easing and Fed hikes are not so negative for equities as long as the pace is gentle,” Mahmood Noorani, CEO of Quant Insights, said in a note Thursday. “The data and sensitivities tell us that Fed moving early but gently is better than the Fed leaving it late and hitting the brakes harder.”

Elsewhere around the markets, Biogen dropped 8% after South Korean conglomerate Samsung said it wasn’t aiming to buy the neuroscience-focused biotech company. 

In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin finally rose 2.32% to $47,549 after days of trading lower.

MicroStrategy continued its buying spree in December, purchasing 1,194 bitcoins. The firm now holds 124,391 bitcoins.

Oil prices rose. West Texas Intermediate crude ticked up 0.04% to $76.59 per barrel. Brent crude, the international benchmark, climbed 0.11% to $79.32.

The 10-year Treasury note yield slipped to 1.515% from Wednesday’s 1.542% rate. Bond yields move inversely to prices.

Gold, meanwhile, rose 0.60% to $1,816.09 per ounce. 

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