Dow Fends off Late Selling on Virus Spread to End Week Higher

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Investing.com – Wall Street fended off late selling to end higher for the week on Thursday as concerns about rising coronavirus cases offset a stronger-than-expected jobs report.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.36%, or 263 points, but had gained 469 points intraday. The S&P 500 rose 0.48% and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.52%.

Florida reported a one-day spike of more than 10,000 coronavirus cases, underscoring further signs that states are struggling to control the spread of the virus that threatens to stall the reopening progress.

Investor sentiment was further hurt by a setback in the race to find a Covid-19 vaccine. 

Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA), the frontrunner in the vaccine race, fell 4.9% on news the drugmaker will delay a clinical trial for its Covid-19 vaccine candidate. The move marked a blow to the drugmaker’s expectations to deliver key data from the trial by Thanksgiving. 

The spike in new infections prompted investors to reassess their bullish bets on stocks tied to reopening progress. 

Airlines and cruise stocks retreated from session highs; American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) turned negative after hitting a session high of $13.42 and Carnival (NYSE:CCL) was also down after rising intraday.

Stocks had made a strong start to the session after a quicker-than-expected recovery in jobs stoked hopes of a V-shape recovery.

The U.S. economy created 4.8 million jobs in June, topping forecasts for 2.9 million jobs, while the unemployment rate fell to 11.1% from 13.3% in May. Economists expected it to drop to 12.4%.

About 33% of lost jobs, or 7.5 million out of 22.2 million, have been clawed back following losses earlier in the month, but some questioned whether the strength can continue as infections continue to mount.

“The June employment report was unambiguously positive, with jobs coming back much faster than anticipated, ” Jefferies (NYSE:JEF) said. “While the quick turnaround is very encouraging, sustainability remains in question given the covid resurgence and the rollback of reopening in some states.”

Energy was among the biggest gainers despite cutting gains as investor worries about demand abated somewhat.

Noble Energy (NASDAQ:NBL) Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO) and Diamondback Energy (NASDAQ:FANG) led the sector higher.

Growth in emerging economies, low energy prices and rising petrochemical sales will support oil demand, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) said. The bank forecasts oil demand to decline by 8% this year, rebound by 6% in 2021 and reach pre-Covid levels in 2022.

In other news, Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) surged 8% to an all-time high as its second-quarter vehicle deliveries, topped analysts estimates at a time when others in the auto industry have seen sales slump.

Tesla delivered 90,650 vehicles during the quarter, well above estimates for 74,130 vehicles.

Elsewhere, insurance tech company Lemonade (NYSE:LMND) rallied on its public market debut, soaring 138%. The stock was priced at $29 per share.

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