Stocks slide as jobless claims, coronavirus restrictions rise

Investors betting on a return to normalcy

Ladenberg Thalmann Asset Management CEO Phil Blancato discusses investing in airlines, cruise lines and real estate.

U.S. equity markets slipped Thursday morning as tougher COVID-19 restrictions spread across the country.

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The announcement that New York City would shut schools in favor of virtual learning came a day after Illinois tightened its restrictions and New Orleans canceled Mardi Gras parades.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 150 points, or 0.51%, in the opening minutes of trading while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite were off 0.4% and 0.1%, respectively. The early selling comes after the major averages on Wednesday surrendered early gains before ending lower by as much as 1.16%.

Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. were weaker as West Texas Intermediate crude oil lost 15 cents to $41.67 per barrel amid concerns the renewed COVID-19 restrictions will hurt demand. The energy component had fallen to as low as $41.08 in early trading.

Meanwhile, Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. were all lower as fears of lockdowns leading to a slower economy flattened the yield curve. The U.S. 10-year yield was off 2.5 basis points at 85.5 bps while the 2-year yield was little changed at 17.3 bps.

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Elsewhere, Boeing Co. shares weighed on the Dow a day after the planemaker was given approval by the Federal Aviation Administration to return to the skies after being grounded for nearly 20 months following two deadly crashes that killed all 346 people aboard.

Looking at earnings, Nvidia Corp. fell after the chipmaker reported better-than-expected earnings and sales, but warned revenue from its data center business would decline sequentially in the first three months of its fiscal year. Shares of rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. dropped in sympathy.

Macy’s Inc. reported same-store sales plunged 20% year-over-year as shoppers remained cautious amid the pandemic. The department store chain, which reported earnings and revenue that topped estimates, noted a shift toward casual apparel and home furnishings

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In Europe, Germany’s DAX traded down 0.69%, Britain’s FTSE was weaker by 0.76% and France’s CAC was off 0.66%.

Asian markets finished mixed with China’s Shanghai Composite up 0.47% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and Japan’s Nikkei lost 0.71% and 0.36%, respectively.

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