stock market

Stocks Decline as Investors Digest Weekly Jobs Data

Equity markets were lower, with the Nasdaq and S&P 500 sliding in the final hour of trade.

The Dow and broader U.S. stock market traded lower on Thursday, as investors continued to monitor economic data and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Wall Street’s major indices were lower at the close, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) falling 90.55 points, or 0.3%, to 36,398.08.

The broad S&P 500 Index (SPY) of large-cap stocks declined 0.3% to settle at 4,778.73. Most sectors finished in negative territory.

Meanwhile, the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index (QQQ) declined 0.2% to close at 15,766.22.

A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX (VXX) was little changed on Thursday. The so-called “investor fear index” reached an intraday low of 16.62 on a scale of 1-100, where 20 represents the historical average. It would eventually settle up 2.7% at 17.46.

In commodities, oil prices were little changed on Thursday, as U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures traded flat at $76.56 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the international futures contract, climbed 9 cents, or 0.1%, to $79.32 a barrel.

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In precious metals, gold prices rallied, as the February futures contract gained $11.60, or 0.6%, to $1,817.40 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Silver futures advanced 27 cents, or 1.2%, to trade at $23.13 a troy ounce.

The Final Word: In economic data, weekly jobless claims totaled 198,000 for the week ended Dec. 25, which was below the 205,000 forecast and near the lowest level since 1969. Continuing claims also declined to 1.72 million, the lowest since March 2020.