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Stocks remain flat after two days of declines

Stocks remain flat after two days of declines
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Financial markets remained relatively flat on Thursday following a jump in weekly jobless claims and announcements of more COVID-19 restrictions at the state level.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 45 points, or 0.15 percent, while the S&P 500 rose 14 points, or 0.4 percent.

Labor Department data released Thursday before trading began showed an uptick in jobless claims from the previous week, climbing to 742,000 in the week ending Nov. 14.

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The number of people without jobs remains some 10 million above pre-pandemic levels.

Stocks in recent days retreated from a post-election surge as COVID-19 cases exploded, surpassing 160,000 daily cases in the seven-day rolling average.

States and cities have started to reimpose tougher measures to fight the spread of the virus, including restrictions on bars and restaurants, and in some cases curfews and stay-at-home orders.

Stocks remain above their pre-pandemic peaks, having recovered relatively quickly following massive federal intervention in the spring and an extraordinarily loose monetary environment fostered by the Federal Reserve.

Updated at 4:24 p.m.