© Reuters

By Yasin Ebrahim

Investing.com – The Dow ended lower Thursday as the biggest jump in weekly jobless claims since March stoked fears about the recovery at a time when lawmakers struggle to reach a consensus on a stimulus program.

The fell 0.26%, or 78 points, and had been as low as 192 points intraday, The was down 0.16%, while the rose 0.36%.

The number of Americans filing for unemployed increased by 853,000 in the week ended Dec. 5, well above estimates for a rise of 725,000. The rise above 850,000 for the first time in nearly two months will likely continue following increased restrictions in several states to deal with the spread of Covid-19.

“[W]e are inclined to believe that we will see more steady increases [in jobless claims] from here based on the trajectory of COVID,” Jefferies (NYSE:) said in a note.

Still, the backdrop of a softer jobs market has been overshadowed somewhat by ongoing hopes lawmakers will be agreed a stimulus deal before the year-end to help shore up the recovery.

U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday agreed to a one-week stopgap funding bill to keep the government open and buy more time to resolve key differences including state and local government support and business liability protect.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has hinted that the bill will be approved in the senate.

Energy stocks climbed more than 3% as oil prices continued to rack up gains amid rising bets a global vaccine distribution will kickstart travel-related activity boosted fuel demand.

In technology, investor sentiment remained timid following weakness in the sector a day earlier, when the FTC and several states sued Facebook for alleged antitrust violations.

Yet Wall Street continues to suggest that the break-up of Facebook is unlikely.  “We are skeptical that a federal court will compel a divestiture, and equally skeptical that a divided Congress will pass a law that forces such a result,” Wedbush said in a note.

Facebook (NASDAQ:), Alphabet (NASDAQ:), Microsoft  (NASDAQ:) and Amazon.com (NASDAQ:) closed in the red, while Apple (NASDAQ:) ended higher.

On the vaccine front, meanwhile, the Federal Drug and Food Administration started the review of the Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine on Thursday. The health regulator will examine the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, with many expected it to be approved soon after for emergency use authorization.

In other news, Airbnb (NASDAQ:) marked its debut in style, surging 111% to $144, well above its initial public offering price of $68 a share.

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