Stocks end higher as U.S. jobless claims fall to still-elevated 3.2M
Stocks rose Thursday as the Nasdaq moved back into positive territory for the year. News that U.S. and Chinese negotiators are scheduled to speak as soon as next week helped sentiment despite the fact that there were over 3M U.S. jobless claims again last week.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In U.S. data, initial jobless claims fell 677,000 to 3.17M in the week ended May 2. First quarter nonfarm productivity contracted at a 2.5% rate, which was not as bad a feared.
In COVID-19 news, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reported 231 virus deaths in the state versus 232 the day before. Cuomo said that what the state is doing is working, and "when something's working you keep doing it."
TOP NEWS: Shares of ViacomCBS (VIAC) gained 10.35% after the company reported Q1 revenue that beat expectations due to content licensing. However, the "big news," according to Credit Suisse analyst Douglas Mitchelson, was the announcement of a distribution deal with Google's (GOOGL) YouTube TV.
Moderna (MRNA) jumped 8.66% after reporting along with its financial results for the first quarter that the FDA completed its review of the company's Investigational New Drug application for its novel coronavirus vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, allowing it to proceed to Phase 2 study that is expected to begin shortly. The company also noted it is finalizing protocol for Phase 3 study of mRNA-1273, expected to begin in early summer of 2020.
Shares of Lyft (LYFT) rose 21.67% following the company's quarterly report. In the wake of the report, Piper Sandler analyst Alexander Potter downgraded Lyft to Neutral, stating that he has "less faith in the attractiveness of the ride-hailing theme" over the next year and beyond due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lyft's larger ride-sharing competitor, Uber (UBER), is on deck next with its earnings report coming later today.
Payment players PayPal (PYPL) and Square (SQ) gained 14% and 9.5%, respectively, following their quarterly reports. While PayPal missed on earnings in Q1, its total payment volume metric growth saw a "meaningful" 22% bounce in April compared to last year, Wall Street analysts noted as several of them raised their targets on the stock.
In M&A news, Liberty Global (LBTYA, LBTYB and LBTYK) and Telefonica (TEF) announced an agreement to merge their operating businesses in the U.K. to form a 50:50 joint venture. The combination of Virgin Media and O2 will create a nationwide integrated communications provider with over 46 million video, broadband and mobile subscribers and GBP 11 billion of revenue, the companies stated.
Meanwhile, shares of Dow Inc. (DOW) closed 2.8% higher after Bloomberg reported that the company is exploring a sale of its ports on the U.S. Gulf Coast and six railway hubs as it refocuses on chemicals.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Ameriprise (AMP), which rose 13.5% after it reported quarterly results and raised its quarterly dividend. Also higher after reporting quarterly results were Twilio (TWLO) and Peloton (PTON), which gained a respective 39.6% and 16%.
Among the notable losers was Spirit Airlines (SAVE), which slid 9% after it reported quarterly results and said it plans to reduce discretionary capital spending in 2020 by about $50M. Also lower after reporting quarterly results were SolarEdge (SEDG) and Bausch Health (BHC), which fell 12.7% and 7.3%, respectively.
INDEXES: The Dow rose 211.25, or 0.89%, to 23,875.89, the Nasdaq gained 125.27, or 1.41%, to 8,979.66, and the S&P 500 advanced 32.77, or 1.15%, to 2,881.19.