The S&P 500 slipped from a five-week high on Thursday as concerns regarding the economic toll of the coronavirus were heightened by elevated levels of unemployment claims, plus more in today’s Closing Bell on Money & Markets.

The Top Story

U.S. retail sales increased more than expected in June, but the continued resurgence of coronavirus cases is chipping at an economic recovery as 32 million Americans remain unemployed.

According to the Labor Department, weekly jobless claims came in at 1.3 million for the week ending July 11. Analysts projected around 1.25 million.

The increased COVID-19 cases have prompted states such as California to shut down again, sparking fears of a slowdown in the pace of a Wall Street rally. The S&P 500 is around 6% away from its record high set in February.

The S&P 500 has exceeded the tech-heavy Nasdaq by nearly three percentage points in the last week — its greatest five-day performance over the Nasdaq since late March.

Top S&P sectors for traders on Thursday were utilities, industrials and materials.

The Dow Jones fell 0.50%. The S&P 500 fell 0.34%. The Nasdaq was down 0.73% while the Russell 2000 dropped 0.72%.

Stock Market Update: Closing Bell*

S&P 500: 3,215 (-0.34%)
DOW: 26,734 (-0.50%)
NASDAQ: 10,473 (-0.73%)
RUSSELL 2000: 1,467 (-0.72%)
28.00 (+0.86%)
GOLD: $1,795.60 (-1%)
BITCOIN: $9,095.49 (-0.94%)
U.S. 10-YEAR YIELD: 0.61% (-0.013)

* as of 4:25 p.m.

A Big Win

In this morning’s Opening Bell, we told you about Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) after the multinational investment bank beat analysts’ expectations for profit in the second quarter. It did, however, set aside $5.1 billion to offset potential loan losses. Shares of BAC were down 2.7%.

We also told you about Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) after several prominent individual accounts were hacked late Wednesday in an attempt to spread a cryptocurrency scam. Shares of Twitter rebounded slightly from an early loss but were still down 1.1%.

Finally, we mentioned Tesla Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA) after data showed registrations for vehicles made by the electric auto manufacturer fell by 48% in California — a bellwether market for the company — in the second quarter. Shares of Tesla fell 2.9%.

Golden Nuggets

The price of gold eased back slightly on Thursday after the European Central Bank paused its stimulus policy, prompting some investors to lock in profits.

ECB President Christine Lagarde said the central bank will continue to use its stimulus firepower fully, even as the eurozone economy shows some signs of rebounding from its pandemic-induced recession.

Spot gold dropped 0.8% to $1,795.10 per ounce a week after climbing to $1,817, its highest since September 2011.

Elsewhere in the futures market:

  • Gold futures fell 0.9% to trade at $1,795.50 an ounce,
  • Silver dropped more than 1.3% to $19.49 an ounce.
  • Platinum retreated 1.2% to trade at $833.20 an ounce.
  • Palladium rose 0.8% to $2,025.20 an ounce.

Cannabis Corner

In an effort to draw in new customers, Canopy Growth Corp. (NYSE: CGC) is tapping into the emerging cannabis drink market.

According to Marijuana Business Daily, early sales of beverages by the company appear strong but whether they will maintain long-term success remains to be seen.

Canopy Growth — backed by U.S. alcohol beverage giant Constellation Brands Inc. (NYSE: STZ) — rolled out their new cannabis-infused beverages during a June 22 investor presentation. Company executives estimated the Canadian market for alcoholic beverages and sports drinks is worth around $19 billion.

30-Year Mortgage Rates Drop to Lowest Level Ever

For the first time in more than 50 years, the interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage fell below 3% to 2.98%.

It’s the third consecutive week and the seventh time this year that rates on the most popular home loan have hit new lows, according to mortgage-finance giant Freddie Mac (Over-the-Counter: FMCC) as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The average rate on a 30-year mortgage was at 3.72% at the beginning of 2020 and 3.81% a year ago.

Industry experts called the new low a “tremendous benchmark” as the coronavirus pandemic has sent the yield on U.S. government debt to record lows, and the stock market on a wild ride, over the last four months.

Today’s Big Winners:

S&P 500: Packaging Corp of America (NYSE: PKG) +4.1%

Nasdaq: Kraft Heinz Co. (Nasdaq: KHC) +3.8%

Dow: Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (Nasdaq: WBA) +1.6%

Today’s Big Losers:

S&P 500: Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: NCLH) -15.6%

Nasdaq: American Airlines Group Inc. (Nasdaq: AAL) -7.4%

Dow: Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) -4.9%

Check back for the most important news and numbers each day after the Closing Bell, only on Money & Markets