Stocks mostly flat after day of volatility

Stocks mostly flat after day of volatility
© UPI Photo

Stock markets on Thursday closed relatively flat after a day of volatility.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 40 points, or 0.2 percent, while the S&P 500 closed up 1.8 points, or 0.1 percent.

The intra-day swings started after initial jobless claims from the Labor Department showed that 1.5 million more Americans applied for benefits last week, marking a steady decline from March highs but still double the pre-pandemic record.

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The Dow dropped nearly 250 points early in the day and then climbed back into positive territory before retreating again. The S&P followed a similar path before pushing back into the positive territory shortly before the closing bell.

The volatility follows news that the reopening that has allowed an economic rebound has also contributed to a major spike in COVID-19 cases in states like Texas, Arizona and Florida.

Thursday's trading came a day after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told Congress that ending stimulus and emergency measures too soon could endanger the nascent recovery.

Meanwhile, the GOP-led Senate has yet to craft its next coronavirus response bill, with additional unemployment benefits playing a divisive role.