U.S. stocks closed lower for the fourth consecutive day on Thursday, putting all three major cash market indexes in a position to close lower for the week.
The best performer in the benchmark S&P 500 Index during the holiday-shortened week has been the Consumer Discretionary Sector, up about a quarter of one percent. The other ten sectors are all lower. Industrial and real estate stocks are the biggest losers, with each sector down more than 2%.
US Economic News
The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits fell to the lowest level in nearly 18 months last week, offering more evidence that job growth was being hindered by labor shortages rather than cooling demand for workers, Reuters reported.
The weekly unemployment claims report from the Labor Department on Thursday, the timeliest data on the economy’s health, also showed the number of people on state unemployment rolls plunging to levels last seen in mid-March 2020 when the economy was reeling from mandatory shutdowns of nonessential businesses to slow the first wave of COVID-19 cases.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 35,000 to a seasonally adjusted 310,000 for the week-ended September 4, the lowest level since mid-March 2020. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 335,000 applications for the latest week.
Unadjusted claims, which economists say offer a better read of the labor market, fell 8,005 to 284,287 last week.
Claims have dropped from a record 6.149 million in early April 2020. They are closing in on the upper end of the 200,000-250,000 range viewed as consistent with healthy labor market conditions.
Treasury Yields Fall after Weekly Jobless Claims Drop to COVID-Era Low
U.S. Treasury yields fell on Thursday as last week’s initial jobless claims dropped to a new COVID-Era low in the face of the highly contagious delta variant.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell 4 basis points to 1.295%. The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond dropped 6 basis points to 1.888%.