September 23, 2021

Morning News

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Stocks lower with jobless claims, earnings in focus

U.S. equity markets were lower Thursday morning after weekly jobless claims fell to a fresh pandemic low. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 126 points, or 0.36%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.21% and 0.09%, respectively. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 34987.02 +53.79 +0.15%
SP500 S&P 500 4360.03 -14.27 -0.33%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 14543.133355 -101.82 -0.70%

The early selling comes a day after the major averages ended just below their all-time highs as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated his belief that the recent bout of higher inflation will be temporary and that the central bank will keep rates low for the foreseeable future. Powell will testify Thursday on Capitol Hill for a second day. 

Promises to keep rates low pulled money into the U.S. Treasury market with the 10-year note yield on Thursday falling 2 basis points to 1.33%.

First-time jobless claims fell to a pandemic-era low of 360,000 last week, according to the Labor Department. Continuing claims also declined. 

In stocks, Morgan Stanley beat on both the top and bottom lines, bolstered by strength in its investment banking and wealth management divisions.  

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
MS MORGAN STANLEY 92.63 +0.17 +0.18%
JPM JPMORGAN CHASE & CO. 155.46 +0.34 +0.22%
BAC BANK OF AMERICA CORP. 38.83 -0.03 -0.08%

Dow component UnitedHealth Group Inc. reported its quarterly profit slumped 36% from a year ago, but the results still topped Wall Street estimates. The health insurer raised its full-year profit forecast for the second time this year. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
UNH UNITEDHEALTH GROUP, INC. 420.05 +5.31 +1.28%

Elsewhere, chipmakers were in focus after Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world’s largest semiconductor maker, reported record quarterly sales and guided revenue higher for the current quarter. The company is planning to build new factories in the U.S. and Japan to help meet chip demand.  

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
TSM TAIWAN SEMICONDUCTOR MANUFACTURING CO., LTD. 117.53 -6.86 -5.51%
AMC AMC ENTERTAINMENT HOLDINGS INC 36.00 +2.57 +7.69%

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. shares were lower for the eighth time in nine days. Shares have plunged 41% over that period. 

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In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil lost $1.44 to $71.69 a barrel and gold ticked up 90 cents to $1,825.90 an ounce. 

Overseas markets were mostly lower.

European bourses were weaker across the board with Germany’s DAX declining 1.1% while France’s CAC 30 slid 1.09% and Britain’s FTSE 100 slipped 0.86%. 

In Asia, China’s Shanghai gained 1.02% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 0.75% after Beijing said Chinese economic growth slowed to a 7.9% pace in the three months ending June. Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.15%.