NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks finished little changed on Thursday (Jun 18) as investors weighed data showing stubbornly high jobless claims against optimism over the impact of monetary stimulus.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 0.15 per cent at 26,080.10.
The broad-based S&P 500 edged up 0.06 per cent to 3,115.34, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.33 per cent to 9,943.05.
Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities, described the market as being "in a bit of a stalemate" with worrisome economic and coronavirus trends offset by reassuring support from the Federal Reserve and hopes for coronavirus treatments.
Another 1.5 million US workers filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department said, a decrease of only 58,000 from the prior week and higher overall than analysts expected.
Oxford Economics warned that the data shows "significant stress remains in the labor market," while FHN's Chris Low said the figures "suggest claims are levelling off at a level never seen before the Lockdown Recession."
Rising COVID-19 case counts in several states have been adding to the market unease.
Hospitalisations have risen in Texas since Memorial Day, and California on Thursday required face masks face coverings in public indoor spaces following a jump in cases.
Among individual companies, Carnival fell 1.3 per cent as it reported a quarterly loss of US$4.4 billion and said it is "unable to definitely predict when it will return to normal operations" following coronavirus restrictions on cruise companies.
Grocery chain Kroger fell 3.0 per cent despite reporting a 57 per cent jump in quarterly profits to US$1.2 billion, but declined to lift its full-year forecast due to the uncertainty in the wake of COVID-19.