January 24, 2021

Dow Edges Up After Positive Sign on Jobs

A strong report on jobs sent Wall Street slightly higher on Thursday even as the stalemate continued in Washington over the debt ceiling.

The government reported that first-time applications for state unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level in four months, a sign that employers were laying off fewer workers. The Labor Department said applications fell to a seasonally adjusted 398,000.

The positive news on jobs sent the Dow Jones industrial average up 21.80 points, or 0.18 percent, to 12,324.35, after a 198-point decline on Wednesday. The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index rose 1.48 points, or 0.11 percent, to 1,306.37. The Nasdaq, which lost 2.7 percent on Wednesday, gained 0.83 point, to 2,765.62.

Stocks have been falling since Friday as an Aug. 2 deadline approaches for raising the borrowing limit for the United States government.

On Thursday, House Republicans prepared a vote on a new plan to avoid a debt default. That legislation faced steep opposition from Senate Democrats, and the White House has threatened to veto the proposal.

With the deadline for a deal just five days away, investors are becoming more fearful that the government may lose its triple-A credit rating. That would raise interest rates and slow down an economy that is still recovering from the worst recession in decades.

After the Dow’s sharp fall Wednesday, its biggest one-day drop since early June, it was on track for its worst weekly decline since August 2010. The Dow was also about 4 percent below the 2011 high it reached on April 29.

Earnings results have been a relative bright spot. DuPont rose in premarket trading after the company said second-quarter earnings had increased 5 percent on higher revenue. The company also raised its earnings outlook for the year.

But Exxon Mobil, the largest publicly traded oil company, declined after as earnings fell below analysts’ estimates.

Bond prices rose, pushing yields lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.95 percent from 2.97 percent late on Wednesday.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=7ba07b896d3d3be61df8e2e68585c482

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