Stocks Tumble on Record Jobless Claims Increase

Stocks fell on Thursday as grim U.S. unemployment data offset a surge in oil prices and added to the fears surrounding the coronavirus outbreak and its economic ramifications.

The Dow Jones Industrials lost 128.56 points to begin the session at 20,814.65.

The broader S&P 500 fell 114.09 points, or 4.4%, to 2,470.50.

The NASDAQ Composite tossed 339.52 points, or 4.4%, to 7,360.58.

The U.S. Labor Department reported more than six million people filed for unemployment benefits in the week of March 27, a record.

Economists expected another five million to five million workers filed for jobless claims last week as coronavirus-related shutdowns roll through the country. The estimates ranged as high as nine million.

Boston Federal Reserve President Eric Rosengren said Wednesday that Congress likely will have to deliver more stimulus to help those at the lower end of the economic spectrum and to boost small business.

Unemployment is likely to "rise pretty dramatically over the next couple of months" and the economic damage won’t abate until the coronavirus is brought under control, he said.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also said Wednesday the state’s model projects a high death rate through July.

More than 950,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed globally, with over 216,000 in the U.S. alone, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Prices for the 10-Year U.S. Treasury enjoyed slight gains, lowering yields to 0.59% from Wednesday’s 0.61%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained $1.52 to $21.83 U.S. a barrel. Gold prices gained $29.70 to $1,621.10 U.S. an ounce.

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