The latest update on the labor market showed jobless claims fell last week by 249,000 from the week before to about 1.19 million, ahead of the consensus on Econoday for 1.44 million. The Labor Department on Friday is expected to report that roughly 2 million jobs were added to nonfarm payrolls last month, which would be slower than the 4.8 million jobs created in June.
"The overall tone of the jobless claims data is the best it has been in three weeks or so," said Jefferies economists Thomas Simons and Aneta Markowska. "The outright level of claims has made a new post-pandemic low, and 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."
Investors were waiting to hear that lawmakers and the White House agreed to continue providing extra aid to jobless Americans and struggling businesses amid the economic havoc brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak. Both sides in the negotiations have agreed to reach a deal by Friday, but there has been no word of progress lately. Among other things, Democrats want job hunters to keep receiving $600 extra in weekly unemployment benefits, which expired last week.
Communications services led the market higher, surging about 2.5% as Walt Disney (DIS) added 2.5%. Facebook (FB) popped 6.5%, and Activision Blizzard (ATVI) rose 3%.
Tech shares rose nearly 1.5%, pulled higher by Apple's (AAPL) 3.5% gain and Microsoft's (MSFT) 1.6% advance. Visa (V) ticked up 1.4%.
Energy shares led declining sectors, sliding 0.7% as crude futures were pressured by concerns about weak demand for the key commodity. West Texas Intermediate slid about 0.4% to $42.03 a barrel and international benchmark Brent edged up slightly to $45.19 a barrel.
HollyFrontier (HFC) fell 5.2%, and Occidental Petroleum (OXY) lost 3.1%. Phillips 66 (PSX) slid 1.6%.
Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) rose 2.8% after the pharmaceutical major raised its full-year guidance after its second-quarter results beat expectations.
Burger King parent Restaurant Brands International (QSR) fell 4.4% as its quarterly results were pushed down by the pandemic.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) added 3.8% after the cruise operator said its bookings for next year are within a 'historic ranges' after the company swung to a deeper-than-expected loss in its latest recent quarter.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished about 0.7% higher while the Standard & Poor's 500 added more than 0.6%. The Nasdaq Composite rose 1%.
|Wells Fargo's Q3, 2020, 2021 Full Year Earnings Esti...|
|Viad's 2021 Earnings Projection Cut|
|Analysts' Scale Back 2020, 2021 Consensus Estimates ...|
|Consensus Forecast for Towers Watson & Co's Q3 E...|
|2020 and 2021 Earnings Estimates for Valero Energy D...|