Stocks turned lower around midday trading in a volatile session, and the S&P 500 notched its first negative day in five. The Nasdaq-100 briefly touched a new intraday record, but then tech stocks led a sell-off. Sectors most sensitive to economies reopening were still sharply higher, capping the losses in the major indexes. Here's what happened:
The recent rally in U.S. stocks took a pause on Thursday as all three major averages finished in negative territory. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq lost 0.34% and 0.69%, respectively. The Nasdaq 100 set a record intraday high earlier in the session but closed in the red as tech stocks sold off late in the session. The Dow, however, staged a late rally to gain 12 points, or 0.05%. —Pound
Even as the economy began to reopen, another 8.3 million jobs were expected to have been lost in May, driving the unemployment rate to near 20%. The May employment report is expected at 8:30 a.m. ET Friday. Economists say May's job losses, on top of the 20.5 million lost in April, should have been the peak of the pain for labor markets. They expect hiring to rebound and job growth to be positive in June. According to Dow Jones, economists expect the unemployment rate to rise to 19.5% from 14.7% in April. —Domm
GMO, the investment firm run by legendary investor Jeremy Grantham, cut its exposure to stocks down to about 25% from around 55% in the first quarter. "We have never lived in a period where the future was so uncertain," said Grantham in a note to clients released Thursday, citing concerns over the coronavirus and the global economy. "Simultaneously, it is causing supply and demand shocks unlike anything before. Ever. It is generating a much faster economic contraction than that of the Great Depression." Grantham also raised concern about how the market has seemingly shrugged off the coronavirus and its economic implications. "We have never lived in a period where the future was so uncertain. Yet the market is 10% below its previous high in January when, superficially at least, everything seemed fine," he said. —Imbert
The major averages were on pace to post their first decline of the month following disappointing U.S. unemployment data. The Dow traded nearly 100 points lower, or 0.4%, while the S&P 500 slid 0.7%. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.9%. The Nasdaq-100, which notched an intraday record earlier in the session, was down 1% with an hour left in the session. —Imbert
Tesla CEO Elon Musk fired at Jeff Bezos on Twitter Thursday calling for the breakup of e-commerce giant Amazon, which has a market cap of more than $1.2 trillion. The comment came after a former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson said on Twitter Amazon refused to sell his book on the coronavirus pandemic on its marketplace, saying it doesn't comply with its guidelines. Musk called it "insane," and said it's "time to break up Amazon," and that "monopolies are wrong." –Li
Lori Calvasina, head of U.S. equity at RBC Capital Markets, noted Thursday the rate of downward earnings revisions has improved recently. This supports "the stock market for now by feeding the 'things are getting less bad' narrative," Calvasina said. But "the lingering problem is that 2021 forecasts haven't been falling recently." She pointed out sell-side strategist still expect earnings to rise by 31% year over year, "essentially unchanged in the 2nd half of reporting season and on par with 2018 and 2019 … We think it will take longer for earnings to return to pre-pandemic levels." —Imbert
The U.S. plans to revise its previous order that bans Chinese passenger airlines from flying to the country, Reuters reported, citing government and airline sources. The revision would allow some U.S. carriers to continue flights once a week starting on June 8, Reuters said. The move would come after China said on Thursday it would ease pandemic restrictions to allow more foreign airlines in the mainland. –Li
Shares of ZoomInfo (ZI) surged more than 70% on its market debut on the Nasdaq on Thursday, the first technology IPO since the global pandemic. ZoomInfo priced its IPO at $21 on Wednesday but is now trading around $35 per share. ZoomInfo uses artificial intelligence to process data that aids corporate sales and marketing teams with customer outreach. The stock price underscore investors' risk appetite for high-growth subscription software companies and newly public companies in general. — Fitzgerald
Travel stocks were some of the biggest winners in early trading, as reopening names rose despite a tepid day for the market overall. Here are some of the biggest moves.
American Airlines, United, Delta — Airline stocks rose as the companies announced plans to ramp up flights in the coming months due to a rebound in travel demand. American now plans to use 55% of its domestic schedule in July, up from 20% in May. Shares of American soared by more than 24%, while United and Delta both posted double-digit percentage gains as well.
Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean — Cruise stocks jumped again on Wednesday as investors bet on a strong reopening of the economy and a bounce-back in the travel sector. Shares of Norwegian rose 9.4%, while Carnival jumped 8% and Royal Caribbean's stock gained 3%.
See the rest of the movers here. —Pound
The traditional 60/40 portfolio, which invests 60% in the S&P 500 and the rest in benchmark Treasurys, has wiped out its 2020 loss after stocks' massive rebound from the historic coronavirus sell-off. The Vanguard Balanced Index Fund, which mirrors the 60/40 rule, turned positive on the year in the previous session and rose another 0.8% Thursday. The 60/40 split offers more exposure to higher-yielding stocks while having a buffer from low-risk fixed-income investments when things go south. This strategy has worked better this year than simply owning the S&P 500, which is still down 3.6%.—Li
Around midday, the major averages traded lower, but not before the Nasdaq-100 index notched an intraday record high. The tech-heavy Nasdaq-100 became the first of the major averages to climb back to record territory since the coronavirus sparked a massive sell-off. To be sure, the excitement would be short-lived as the index was back down 0.5% in midday trading. The Dow hovered along the flatline while the S&P 500 slid 0.3%. —Imbert
Shares of the SPDR S&P Regional Bank ETF (KRE) jumped nearly 3% on Thursday, bringing its week-to-date gain to 9.5%. It would be the ETF's first time ever posting three straight weekly gains of more than 9%. Leaders in the fund include Huntington Bancshares, which rose more than 3% on Thursday. Citizens Financial Group and Fifth Third gained 2.8% and 2.7%, respectively. — Francolla, Fitzgerald
The firm said its getting more bullish on the beverage maker and upped its price target to $80 from $70 after attending the company's virtual annual general meeting. "We believe the premium multiple is warranted as COVID related disruption begin to move into the rear-view and companies with high quality balance sheets and ability to return cash to shareholders such as MNST become increasingly attractive," analyst Peter Galbo said. - Bloom
The Nasdaq-100, made up of the 100 biggest nonfinancial members of the composite, hit a high earlier in the session on Thursday. Now the bigger index is not that far behind. The Nasdaq Composite is less than 1.5% from its record high. The S&P 500 is less than 8% from its February high and the 30-stock Dow is about 11% away from its record. The three major averages are all up more than 40% from their lows in March. — Fitzgerald
Investment firm Craig-Hallum on Thursday raised its price target on shares of gun maker Smith & Wesson to a Street high of $21, which implies a nearly 50% rally ahead. The firm said it expects firearm sales to "boom," and said that demand should remain strong over the coming quarters. "We expect firearm demand to remain strong ahead of the presidential election in November, which combined with a depleted distributor/retail channel creates multiple tailwinds for strong sales over the next few quarters," analyst Steve Dyer said. Shares have gained more than 21% this week, and more than 54% this year. - Bloom
While the amount of workers filing first-time unemployment claims continues to decline, those receiving benefits took an uptick last week. Continuing claims, which measure those collecting unemployment insurance for at least two weeks, rose by 649,000 to about 21.5 million from a week ago, the Labor Department said Thursday. While that's a drop from the record 24.9 million in early May, it means that workers are being called back slowly following mass furloughs during the effort to battle the coronavirus pandemic. First-time claims totaled 1.887 million last week, a drop of 249,000 from the previous week. – Cox
The major averages pared their losses with the Dow entering positive territory as the Nasdaq-100 index hit a new all-time high. The 30-stock index last traded around the flatline, with the S&P 500 also hovering around breakeven. The Nasdaq Composite traded about 1% higher. – Stevens
The Nasdaq-100 index, which tracks the 100-largest nonfinancial companies in the Nasdaq Composite, rose 0.37% in morning trading on Thursday, hitting a new all-time high. It marks the first major index to completely wipe out losses from the pandemic on an intraday basis. Thursday's advance was led by Tesla, Netflix and Amazon. - Li
Stocks opened lower across the board on Thursday, as investor sentiment cooled following a larger-than-expected weekly jobless claims number. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 94 points for a loss of 0.35%. The S&P 500 dipped 0.47%, while the Nasdaq traded 0.34% lower. With the move lower, the S&P is on track to snap its longest winning streak since February. - Stevens
Companies poised to directly benefit from a reopening of the economy led the market in premarket trading Thursday. Airlines, one of the hardest-hit industries from the pandemic, jumped sharply to extend this week's comeback. Shares of American Airlines popped more than 7% in the premarket, while Delta and United rose about 5% each. Casinos were also among the biggest winners on reopening with MGM Resorts up 7%. Wynn and Las Vegas Sands also jumped more than 3% each. Shares of Simon Property Group, the biggest U.S. mall owner, was up 4% in the premarket as it started to reopen after shutting down its locations for weeks to curb the spread of the coronavirus. –Li
Casinos in Las Vegas reopened on Thursday after a months-long closure due to the pandemic. The reopenings are happening on schedule despite the nationwide protests over the past week. The major casino stocks rose in premarket trading, led by MGM gaining nearly 7%. Las Vegas Sands rose 4.7% and Wynn climbed 4%. —Pound
US weekly jobless claims totaled 1.877 million, vs 1.775 million expected economists surveyed by Dow Jones. Continuing claims, which provide a clearer picture of how many Americans remain unemployed, totaled 21.5 million, a gain of 649,000 over the past week. - Cox
E-broker Charles Schwab received antitrust approval from the Department of Justice for its acquisition of TD Ameritrade, sources told CNBC's David Faber on Thursday. Schwab announced last November it would buy rival broker TD Ameritrade in an all-stock deal valued at $26 billion. The merging of the two biggest publicly traded discount brokers will create a mammoth with more than $5 trillion in client assets, $3.8 trillion from Schwab and $1.3 trillion from TD Ameritrade. There were concerns about Schwab's dominance in the registered investment advisors space, added with TD Ameritrade's share; however, the DOJ did not see any violation, sources told Faber. — Faber, Fitzgerald
Stock futures cut earlier losses and briefly turned positive after the European Central Bank announced that it would buy an additional 600 billion euros of government bonds. That equates to roughly $672 billion.The central bank had announced in March that its Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme would buy 750 billion euros of bonds, bringing the total to 1.35 trillion euros. The new announcement also extends the program until June 2021. —Pound, Amaro
Dow futures cut their earlier losses and went green briefly after the European Central Bank ramped up its pandemic bond buying. The ECB announced Thursday that it will raise its Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP) by 600 billion euros ($672 billion). Dow futures went positive. S&P 500 futures cut their losses as well. Futures still remained slightly in the red. -Melloy
Shares of Planet Fitness shed more than 3% during Thursday's premarket trading after Raymond James downgraded the stock to a market perform rating, citing valuation concerns. "While we continue to believe PLNT is well-positioned for longer-term growth and market share gains, we also believe valuation has become stretched, particularly given the number of uncertainties at this point regarding the pace of recovery," Raymond James said. The firm also removed its price target on the stock. Shares have gained more than 34% in the last month as states have begun to reopen their economies. –Stevens
China's aviation authority will let foreign airlines increase flights between the country and other regions starting Monday, a move that follows the U.S. suspending Chinese passenger flights from entering the U.S. These moves come as tensions between the two countries simmer amid the coronavirus pandemic and China imposing stricter security measures on Hong Kong. —Imbert, Cheng
U.S. stock futures pointed to a lower open on Thursday as Wall Street took a breather from its blistering start to June. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures traded 104 points lower, or 0.4%, while S&P 500 futures slid 0.5%. Nasdaq 100 futures dipped nearly 0.2%. The Dow was coming off a three-day winning streak after rallying more than 500 points on Wednesday. The S&P 500 posted on Wednesday its longest winning streak since February, rising for a fourth day. Traders looked ahead to the release of weekly U.S. jobless claims as they gauge the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic. —Imbert
— With reporting from Evelyn Cheng, Yun Li, Michael Bloom, Jeff Cox and Jesse Pound.
Subscribe to CNBC PRO for exclusive insights and analysis, and live business day programming from around the world.