NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street struggled for direction on Thursday as investors weighed a resurgence in coronavirus infections and the possibility of a new round of shutdowns against data that suggested the U.S. economy might not bounce back with quick, V-shaped recovery.
A range-bound S&P 500 see-sawed through much of the session and was last in negative territory, joining the blue-chip Dow in the red.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq was essentially flat.
“It’s not unusual after huge moves to trade sidewise,” said Chuck Carlson, chief executive officer at Horizon Investment Services in Hammond, Indiana. “It’s a continuing evaluation of the sustainability of improvement at these rapid levels.”
“(Investors) don’t want to sell and they don’t want to buy, so you have days like this,” Carlson added.
Initial jobless claims declined slightly last week to a still-bruising 1.51 million, according to the Labor Department. The number was worse than consensus, and continuing claims remain stubbornly high at 20.54 million, suggesting the labor market has a long road to recovery.
While several U.S. states have reported surges in new COVID-19 cases after re-opening their economies, President Donald Trump insisted the United States would not enact a new round of restrictions to curb the pandemic’s spread.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 136.7 points, or 0.52%, to 25,982.91, the S&P 500 lost 8.39 points, or 0.27%, to 3,105.1 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.09 points, or 0%, to 9,910.63.
Of 11 major sectors of the S&P 500, five were in positive territory, with energy and consumer staples seeing the largest percentage gains.
Real estate was the clear laggard.
Grocery chain Kroger Co beat quarterly earnings estimates and said it expects to exceed its 2020 same-store sales outlook. But the company did not reaffirm or provide new 2020 forecasts, and its shares fell 5.4%.
Shares of Spotify Technology SA jumped 13.8% after the music streaming company inked a deal with AT&T Inc’s Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment to add popular DC Comics character podcasts to its library.
Cruise operator Carnival Corp fell 2.8% after reporting a record $4.4 billion quarterly loss after pandemic-related write-downs.
Biogen Inc dropped 7.6% after a U.S. district court ruled in favor of generic drugmaker Mylan NV in a patent dispute. Mylan NV rose 2.2%.
Industrial services provider Team Inc plunged 17.1% after missing quarterly earnings estimates amid falling demand.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.23-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.10-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted five new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 72 new highs and four new lows.
Reporting by Stephen Culp; Editing by Cynthia Osterman