Stocks – Wall Street Drifts Lower on Weak Labor Data, U.S.-China Tensions

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Investing.com – Wall Street trickled lower on Thursday, led by energy as investor sentiment was soured by another wave of U.S. jobless claims and rising U.S. and China tensions.  

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.13%, or 32 points, the S&P 500 slipped 0.45%, while the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.51%.

The U.S. Labor Department reported that workers filed 2.438 million new unemployment claims last week, just above forecasts of 2.4 million, but below the prior week’s downwardly revised 2.687 million.

The ongoing slowdown in jobless claims, however, may not yet indicate a bottom has been reached as continuing claims continue to rise, Jefferies (NYSE:JEF) said.

The decline on Wall Street was led by energy as oil prices gave up the bulk of their gains, though the downside was limited amid ongoing hopes for a recovery in crude demand.

On the earnings front, meanwhile, investors continued to digest mixed quarterly results.

Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) fell 3.7% even as the electronics retailer reported first-quarter earnings that topped expectations.

Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE) reported mixed results as losses widened by more than expected while revenue topped estimates, sending its shares about 2.7% lower.

BJs Wholesale Club (NYSE:BJ) jumped 18% after its first-quarter results topped estimates, with comparable-club sales surging 27% as the coronavirus pandemic increased demand.

Elsewhere, cruise line companies Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) and Norwegian Cruise Line (NYSE:NCLH) moved sharply higher as Credit Suisse (SIX:CSGN) said the shares were attractive as the risk of a liquidity crunch was partially priced in.

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) cut losses to trade flat on a CNBC report the electric automaker will return to normal operations following disruptions caused by the pandemic.

Boeing (NYSE:BA), meanwhile, was up 5.3% after RBC initiated coverage on the stock at outperform rating, citing a favorable risk-to-reward opportunity.

Investor sentiment was also soured by rising U.S. and China tensions after the U.S. Senate on Wednesday passed a bill to allow oversight of foreign-based companies.

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