US STOCKS-S&P 500 ends down slightly after flirting with record levels again

US STOCKS-S&P 500 ends down slightly after flirting with record levels again

Reuters  | Aug 14, 2020 04:10

US STOCKS-S&P 500 ends down slightly after flirting with record levels again

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* Weekly unemployment claims fall below 1 million
* Cisco weighs on Dow following weak outlook

(Updates to close)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
Aug 13 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 ended slightly lower on
Thursday after briefly trading above its record closing high
level for a second day, and the Dow also fell in the wake of a
disappointing forecast from Cisco Systems Inc CSCO.O .
The S&P 500 during the session broke above its record high
closing level of 3,386.15 from Feb. 19, just before investors
sold shares in anticipation of what proved to be the biggest
slump in the U.S. economy since the Great Depression. Its
intraday record high of 3,393.52 was also set on Feb. 19.
A slump in Cisco Systems weighed on the Dow and S&P 500
after the company forecast first-quarter revenue and profit
below estimates. Concern about corporate outlooks has continued despite a
mostly stronger-than-expected second-quarter earnings season.
"The outlook for earnings in the next few quarters seems to
be getting watered down by a lot of big companies," said Peter
Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville,
"It's making for a sluggish market without a real catalyst
to push it up and over the hurdle for good," he said.
Apple Inc AAPL.O rose, helping to support the Nasdaq and
limiting losses in the S&P 500. Also limiting bearishness, jobless claims fell below 1
million for the first time since efforts to curb the COVID-19
outbreak in the United States began five months ago.
Wall Street has recovered most of the trillions in market
capitalization lost during the start of the pandemic and the
Nasdaq was the first of the three major indexes to hit a record
high in June. The Dow remains below its February peak.
Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell
80.12 points, or 0.29%, to 27,896.72, the S&P 500 .SPX lost
6.9 points, or 0.20%, to 3,373.45 and the Nasdaq Composite
.IXIC added 29.27 points, or 0.27%, to 11,041.51.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits decreased to
963,000 for the week ended Aug. 8, the lowest level since
mid-March. But the expiration of a $600 weekly jobless
supplement at the end of July likely contributed to the decline.
Data last week showed the economy has regained only 9.3
million jobs of the 22 million jobs lost between February and
April, indicating a long road to reach pre-pandemic levels.
Investors continue to hold on to hopes Democrats and the
White House can reach agreement on a stimulus package to help
the economy recover. Unemployment benefits have been a sticking
point in their talks.
The U.S. presidential election is expected to add another
layer of uncertainty into markets, with roughly 12 weeks
remaining until Election Day.

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