Stocks open mixed after jobless claims decline, stimulus impasse deepens

Stocks open mixed after jobless claims decline, stimulus impasse deepens
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Stocks opened with mixed results Thursday morning as negotiations over another coronavirus relief bill continue to falter and the Labor Department reported a better-than-expected decline in weekly jobless claims.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell roughly 75 points, a 0.3 percent decline. The S&P 500 opened largely flat after nearing a record-high close Wednesday, and the Nasdaq composite rose roughly 0.6 percent.

The market’s muddled open came after the Labor Department reported a seasonally adjusted total of 963,000 new claims for jobless benefits in the week ending Aug. 8, the first week with fewer than 1 million claims since March 8-14. Even so, more than 28 million Americans remain on some form of unemployment insurance and are receiving far less aid than before after a temporary $600 weekly boost to benefits expired on July 31.

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The Trump administration and lawmakers remain far apart on a potential extension of those benefits and other fiscal aid measures that economists deem essential to preventing a deeper downturn.

Republican and Democrats appear unlikely to strike a deal until September, risking a month of dire economic damage before doing anything to cushion the blow.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats plow ahead with Jan. 6 probe, eyeing new GOP reinforcements GOP's Banks burnishes brand with Pelosi veto Meghan McCain on Pelosi, McCarthy fight: 'I think they're all bad' MORE (D-Calif.) on Wednesday sought to heap pressure on Congress to reach a deal and not punt to next month.  

“I hope not, no. People will die,” Pelosi told reporters on Capitol Hill in response to a question about a deal being delayed until September.