US stocks rally as jobless claims hit another pandemic-era low

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Deutsche Bank said retail investors have been key players in the stock market rally Johannes Eisele/Getty Images

US stocks edged higher Thursday, snapping a three-day losing streak, as new jobless claims hit another pandemic-era low.

Jobless claims totaled an unadjusted 473,000 last week, the Labor Department said Thursday, lower than the median estimate of 490,000 from economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

The reading marks the fourth decline in five weeks and is the lowest since the pandemic froze economic activity in March 2020. The previous week’s reading was revised to 507,000 from 498,000.

“Taking a step back from inflation, the fact that jobless claims hit another pandemic-era low suggests we’re inching even closer to full reopening, which is no doubt a good thing,” Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E-Trade Financial, said in a statement.

US stocks tumbled Wednesday with the Dow dropping nearly 700 points as investors feared overheating inflation will stifle the nation’s economic recovery. Key inflation data came in significantly higher than expected Wednesday morning.

Here’s where US indexes stood at the 9:30 a.m. ET open on Thursday:

Overnight, Elon Musk announced that Tesla will suspend bitcoin payments for vehicle purchases due to the negative environmental impact of cryptocurrency mining.

Bitcoin slipped as much as 15% following the news.

Stocks linked to cryptocurrencies also slumped. Coinbase, MicroStrategy, and Square were all trading lower. Crypto-mining stocks including Riot Blockchain, Marathon Digital Holdings, and BitDigital all felt the pinch too.

Oil, gasoline, and diesel prices fell sharply after Colonial Pipeline said it would restart operations following a cyberattack last week that caused energy supply shortages in various eastern US states.

West Texas Intermediate crude slipped 2.09%, to $64.70 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, also fell 1.96%, to $67.96 per barrel, at intraday highs.

Gold continues its slide, slipping 0.5% to $1,816.82 per ounce. The precious metal saw its worst single-day selloff in two and a half months on Wednesday, according to foreign exchange company Oanda.