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US: Dow, S&P 500 end lower as stimulus talks stall

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Wall Street stocks finished mostly lower on Thursday following better-than-expected labour data offset by disappointment at the lack of progress on Washington stimulus.

[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks finished mostly lower on Thursday following better-than-expected labour data offset by disappointment at the lack of progress on Washington stimulus.

US Labor Department data showed 963,000 new weekly claims for unemployment benefits, the first reading below one million since the coronavirus pandemic struck in March.

But talks on another round of fiscal spending to boost the coronavirus-bruised US economy took another hit as the Senate adjourned for summer recess with no deal.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3 per cent to 27,896.72.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.2 per cent to 3,373.43, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.3 per cent at 11,042.50.

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FHN Financial's Chris Low said investors had taken heart from the better economic data, which suggested the resurgence of the coronavirus over the last month has not significantly slowed the recovery.

But parties in Washington "are miles apart and that's really disappointing," he said.

Mr Low said the stock market's recovery since March was based on expectations that a coronavirus vaccine will be succesful in the near-term. Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are near all-time highs.

"At the end of the day, the level of the market right now makes no sense unless the economy is okay a year from now," Mr Low said.

Among individual stocks, Cisco Systems plunged 11.2 per cent on disappointment in the company's outlook even though it reported a 19.4 per cent jump in profits to US$2.6 billion.

AFP

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