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U.S. Stocks Pull Back from Recent Highs as Virus Cases Grow

Stocks pulled back on Thursday as the Dow Jones fell triple-digits.

The Dow and broader U.S. stock market declined on Thursday, giving back some of their weekly gains, as investors continued to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic.

All of Wall Street’s major indices reported losses, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) falling 135.56 points, or 0.5%< to 26,734.54.

The broad S&P 500 Index (SPY) of large-cap stocks fell 0.4% to close at 3,215.26. Losses were mainly concentrated in information technology and energy shares.

Meanwhile, the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index (QQQ) settled down 0.8% to 10,466.12.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VXX), commonly known as the VIX, declined slightly on Thursday. The so-called “fear index” reached an intraday low of 26.98 on a scale of 1-100 where 20 represents the historical average. It would eventually settle down 1% at 27.49.

In economic data, U.S. retail sales rose much faster than expected in June, a sign that pent-up consumer demand was fueling the recovery. Receipts at retail stores rose 7.5% from May, the Department of Commerce reported. Excluding automobiles, retail sales rose 7.3% month-over-month.

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Separately, the Labor Department said initial jobless claims rose by 1.3 million in the week ended July 11. That was higher than expected. The number of Americans continuing to receive unemployment benefits fell to 17.338 million.

The Final Word: The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread rapidly around the world, with the United States, Brazil and India becoming the hardest-hit areas. More than 13.6 million people have been infected worldwide, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.