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Stocks Slightly Mixed Thursday Morning 07/09 09:26

   Stocks are drifting on Wall Street Thursday after a report showed fewer 
workers are getting laid off across the country, though a slowing pace of 
improvement is holding back the optimism.

   NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are drifting on Wall Street Thursday after a report 
showed fewer workers are getting laid off across the country, though a slowing 
pace of improvement is holding back the optimism.

   The S&P 500 was virtually flat after flipping between small gains and losses 
in the first 30 minutes of trading. Treasury yields were also holding 
relatively steady, while the price of gold hung close to its highest level 
since 2011 in a sign of continued caution in the market.

   The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 95 points, or 0.4%, at 25,971. The 
Nasdaq composite rose 0.7% as big technology stocks continue to cruise on bets 
that they can keep growing almost regardless of the economy's strength.

   If the S&P 500 ends up higher, it would be the seventh gain for the index in 
the last eight days. Some of its recent gains have come only after wobbly 
trading, though, where the index drifted up and down several times through the 
day. The erratic trading mirrors the market's movement's over much of the last 
month, as investors struggle through massive amounts of uncertainty.

   The number of layoffs sweeping the country is still astoundingly high, with 
1.3 million workers filing for unemployment claims last week. But that's down 
from 1.4 million the prior week and from a peak of nearly 6.9 million in late 
March.

   The improvements back up investor optimism that the economy can recover as 
states and other governments relax restrictions put in place earlier this year 
to slow the coronavirus pandemic. Such optimism has helped the S&P 500 climb 
back to within 6.5% of its record set in February, after earlier being down 
nearly 34%.

   But economists point to a troubling slowdown in the pace of improvements. 
They're also worried that worsening infection levels across swaths of the U.S. 
South and West could derail the budding recovery.

   Such concerns helped the price of gold hold above $1,800 per ounce. Gold 
tends to rise when investors are worried about the economy, and on Wednesday it 
touched its highest price since September 2011, which was shortly after it set 
its record. Gold slipped 0.1% to $1,819.40 in Thursday morning trading.

   The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which tends to move with investors' 
expectations for the economy and inflation, ticked down to 0.64% from 0.65% 
late Wednesday.

   In European stock markets, Germany's DAX returned 1.3%, while France's CAC 
40 added 0.1%. The FTSE 100 in London slipped 0.5% after the Treasury chief 
warned about the depth of the recession there and more big retailers said they 
had to cut jobs.

   In Asia, Chinese stocks continued their huge run. Stocks in Shanghai added 
another 1.4%, bringing its gain for July to 15.6% and further stoking worries 
that speculators are in charge of the market.

   The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo added 0.4%, as did South Korea's Kospi. The Hang 
Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.3%.

   Benchmark U.S. crude dipped 1% to $40.49 per barrel. Brent crude, the 
international standard, slipped 0.4% to $43.13 per barrel.

    

 
 
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