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David Becker

US stocks were mixed on Thursday, as the Nasdaq rose but the Dow and S&P 500 came under pressure. This was despite Apple hitting all-time highs. Both Apple and Tesla continued to rise following news that the companies were planning a stock split. The addition of companies like Robin Hood that allow retail investors to trade partial shares has led to enhanced volumes in the retail trading space. Most sectors in the S&P 500 index were lower on Thursday, led down by the Energy sector, Communications bucked the trend. US Jobless claims rose less than expected, which helped buoy US yields. US import prices came in stronger than expected which is the 3rd gauge released this week that showed stronger than expected price pressures. The VIX volatility index moved sideways rising slightly to 22.5 and remains well above the 2019 average near 14.

US Jobless Claims Increase Less than Expected

US jobless claims rose less than 1 million for the first time since March 21 in a sign that the labor market is continuing its recovery. The total claims of 963,000 for the week ended August 8 were well below the estimate of 1.1 million expected. That represented a decline of 228,000 from the previous week’s total. Jobless claims had totaled above 1 million for 20 consecutive weeks. The last time the total was below that number was March 14, with 282,000, just as the pandemic declaration first hit. Continuing claims, which reflect the total number of claims that are longer than 2-weeks, totaled 15.5 million, down more than 600,000.

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US Import Prices Rose More than Expected

U.S. import prices rose 0.7% in July, according to the Labor Department. The increase in import prices over the past three months is the largest since 2011. Despite this advance, import prices declined 3.3% over the past year. The gain in July was led by fuel prices, which rose 6.9% in July. Import prices excluding fuels rose 0.2% in July. Export prices rose 0.8% in July and are down 4.4% over the past year.

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