Investing.com — U.S. stock markets opened mostly higher on Wednesday as trading quietened down ahead of the holiday period, unruffled by data pointing to a weakening of the economy under pressure from the latest wave of the pandemic.
Earlier, the Labor Department had reported that initial jobless claims had stayed above 800,000 for the third straight week last week, despite falling some 10% from the previous week, when they hit their highest since early September. In addition, personal incomes fell 1.1% last month, more than expected, and durable goods orders grew at their slowest rate in seven months.
Among early movers, Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) stock gave up another 4.7%, falling to a three-week low as the exuberance surrounding its vaccine wore off. The company is still valued at just under $50 billion, despite having sales of less than $250 million.
Profit-taking also plagued Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ:ZM) stock, which fell 5.7% to its lowest since early November with no obvious triggers. Some froth also came off C3 Ai (NYSE:AI)stock, which has nearly doubled since listing last week. It fell 7.6%.
Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) stock and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock turned marginally positive after opening lower, with investors not reading too much into Tesla founder Elon Musk’s claim that CEO Tim Cook once rebuffed an overture to sell Tesla to Apple. Quantumscape (NYSE:QS) stock, which had spiked on Tuesday on speculation that its solid-state batteries may figure in Apple’s plans for driverless electric vehicles, largely retraced their move, falling 14.8%.
Elsewhere, U.K. ADRs were broadly positive after reports citing U.K. officials as saying that the country has effectively agreed the outlines of a free trade deal with the European Union, averting the risk of a disorderly rupture at the end of the year when the post-Brexit transition arrangements lapse. The EU has not confirmed any deal yet.
The news was also enough to send crude oil prices 1.3% higher, with Brent futures trading at $50.73 a barrel ahead of the release of the Energy Information Administration’s weekly inventories report due later.