U.S. stocks opened modestly lower Thursday after a weekly jobless benefit claims report and a reading of manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia area pointed to signs of a weakening recovery in employment and growth in the COVID-19 era. The economic reports come as the Federal Reserve in minutes from its late-July meeting, released on Wednesday, said that uncertainties were rising about business conditions in the future due to the pandemic. Initial jobless claims rose () in mid-August and topped 1 million again, potentially pointing to an increase in layoffs or a pause in the number of people returning to work after a summer surge in the coronavirus. New applications for unemployment benefits, a rough gauge of layoffs, climbed to 1.11 million from 971,000 in the prior week, the Labor Department said. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast 910,000 new claims in the seven days ended Aug. 15. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 120 points, or 0.4%, at 27,580 , with a fourth straight decline for the benchmark representing its longest losing skid since the seven-day period ended Feb. 28. The S&P 500 index traded 0.5% lower at 3,357, while the Nasdaq Composite Index declined 0.5% at 11,094. In other economic reports, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve's manufacturing index ( ) fell 7 points to a seasonally adjusted reading of 17.2 in August, the regional bank said Thursday. This is the second straight decline in the index after it his 27.5 in June. In corporate news, shares of chip maker Nvidia Corp. (NVDA) were in focus after its data-center chips brought in more money than the gaming specialist's core business for the first time in the company's second quarter, and its other businesses also performed better than expected.
-Mark DeCambre; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
August 20, 2020 09:55 ET (13:55 GMT)
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