By Will Horner and Amber Burton 

The Dow Jones Industrial retreated Wednesday, sliding back below 30000 after mixed economic data and the continued rise in Covid-19 cases.

Wednesday's decline marked a pause in a rally fueled by hopes for Covid-19 vaccines and easing concerns around the U.S. presidential transition. President-elect Joe Biden's pick of former Federal Reserve head Janet Yellen for Treasury secretary has also increased hopes of sizable stimulus measures.

Countering that optimism are concerns that the coronavirus pandemic continues to threaten households and raises the prospect of further restrictions. As of Tuesday, there were 88,080 hospitalized patients in the U.S., a record high for a 15th consecutive day, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

The blue-chip index fell 173.77 points, or 0.6%, to 29872.47 points, a day after breaching the 30000 milestone for the first time. The S&P 500 lost 5.76 points, or 0.2%, to 3629.65. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 57.62 points, or 0.5%, to 12094.40, notching its 44th record close of 2020 and its first since early September.

"The market is trying to balance itself between the short-term outlook of a winter wave of Covid cases and the more positive medium-term outlook, thanks to the vaccine and the recovery that will follow," said Seema Shah, chief strategist at Principal Global Investors.

The declines followed a slate of mixed readings on the U.S. economic recovery, with some data releases brought forward due to Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday. U.S. markets are shut Thursday and close early on Friday.

Weekly figures from the Labor Department showed jobless claims rose for a second consecutive week, a sign that resurging Covid-19 cases are taking a toll on the labor market. Meanwhile, durable goods orders rose by more than forecast.

C onsumer spending rose in October for the sixth consecutive month, according to the Commerce Department, though the gain was the smallest over that period. Household income fell 0.7%, in part due to dwindling support from government aid efforts.

Gap lost $5.27, or 20%, to $21.60 after reporting flat sales in the third quarter. Executives at the retailer cautioned that rising virus cases would likely weigh on store visits during the crucial holiday shopping season.

The fall in incomes and rise in jobless claims has left some investors concerned for the near future, especially without increased pandemic aid from Washington, D.C.

Megan Horneman, director of portfolio strategy at Verdence Capital Advisors, said she is looking forward to seeing the results of holiday sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

"Remember, if the consumer is not moving, then the economy is not moving, " she said.

U.S. government bonds wavered after the Federal Reserve released minutes from its Nov. 4-5 meeting, which showed officials discussed ways it might adjust its bond-buying program to provide more stimulus to the economy but didn't signal any imminent changes. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note settled at 0.878%, compared with 0.873% just before the minutes were released and 0.881% at Tuesday's close. Yields rise when bond prices fall.

In commodities, U.S. crude oil prices rose 1.8%, to $45.71 per barrel. Gold prices ticked up less than 0.1% to $1805.70 a troy ounce.

Overseas, the pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.1%, weighed down by declines in auto makers and energy companies. Asian benchmarks were mixed, with the Japanese Nikkei 225 ending the day 0.5% higher, while China's Shanghai Composite fell 1.2%.

Write to Will Horner at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 25, 2020 17:24 ET (22:24 GMT)

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