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Wall Street: US stocks decline as COVID-19 cases surge, jobless claims rise

The S&P 500 index was set for its third straight session of losses.

Investors have also become wary of the near-term damage caused by tightening  business restrictions as COVID-19 cases continue to climb.

Wall Street’s main indexes edged lower on Thursday as soaring corona virus cases and an unexpected rise in weekly jobless claims raised fears of stalling growth in the world’s largest economy.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits totaled a seasonally adjusted 742,000 for the week ended Nov. 14, compared with 711,000 in the prior week, the Labour Department said. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 707,000 applications.

“What was a decline in jobless claims numbers for the last couple of months has suddenly reversed course, so,  that only plays into the current theme of the economy getting worse,” said Kenny Polcari, managing partner at Kace Capital Advisors in Florida.

The S&P 500 index was set for its third straight session of losses, retreating further from its record closing high hit on Monday following positive data on a corona virus vaccine.

The Indian equity benchmark indices opened lower on Thursday following losses in global markets as concerns about rising corona virus infections dampened investor sentiment. Worries over economic fallout after new shutdowns in major US cities overshadowed enthusiasm about COVID-19 vaccine developments.

At 9:15 am, the Sensex opened 0.63 percent, or 277.81 points, lower at 43,902.24, while the Nifty50 index opened at 12,839.50, down 98.75 points, or 0.76 percent.

Broader markets declined with Nifty Smallcap100 and Nifty Midcap100 indices trading 0.3 percent lower each.

Barring Nifty IT and Nifty Auto, all the sectoral indices were trading in the red with Nifty Bank falling more than 1 percent in the early morning session.

PowerGrid Corporation, Larsen & Toubro, Axis Bank, SBI and ICICI Bank were the Nifty50 top losers, while Hero MotoCorp, TCS, BPCL, Bajaj Finserv and Wipro were the top index gainers.

Shares of Hero Moto Corp gained over 3 percent after the company’s retail sales were reported at 14 lakh units in the 32-day festive period and inventory at an all-time low for the festive season.

Pfizer stock price rallied 5 percent after the company completed Phase-3 trials of the COVID-19 vaccine with the final vaccine efficacy at end of Phase-3 trials at 95 percent.

Globally, Asian shares eased from all-time highs on Thursday as widening COVID-19 restrictions in the United states weighed on Wall Street, while bonds were underpinned by speculation the Federal Reserve would have to respond with yet more easing, Reuters reported.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.5 percent, though that was from a record peak. Chinese blue chips were a fraction firmer in Shanghai Exchange.

The Indian Bourses will remain directionless only for a few days and hence Investors are advised to be cautious while taking overnight positions.

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