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Stock market live Thursday: Stocks rise slightly, Nasdaq record close, Tesla pierces $2,000 mark

Stocks rose slightly on Thursday as investors digested weaker-than-expected employment data and the Federal Reserve's cautious stance, as revealed from the minutes from the central bank's latest meeting. The Nasdaq Composite, however, moved higher amid continued strength in the technology sector, notching a record close. Tesla surpassed to the $2,000 per share level. 

Thursday's market moves

  • Nasdaq Composite closed up 1.06% for its third positive day in four, at a new record, its 35th in 2020, after hitting a new intraday all-time high of 11,283.62
  • This week, the Nasdaq is up 2.23%, on pace for its fourth straight weekly gain for the first time since Jan. 17 and its six-week win streak
  • This year, the Nasdaq is up 25.55%
  • The Nasdaq 100 hit a new intraday all-time high Thursday of 11,497.18 and closed at a new record
  • The S&P 500 closed up 0.32% for its third positive day in four
  • This week, the S&P 500 is up 0.38%, on pace for its fourth straight weekly gain 
  • This year, the S&P 500 is up 4.79%
  • The Dow rose 0.17%
  • This week, the Dow is down 0.68%
  • This year, the Dow is down 2.8%
  • Seven out of 11 sectors were negative Thursday led by energy down 2.13% — Gina Francolla 

Stocks close in the green, boosted by tech

The major averages rose on Thursday but gains were capped by disappointing unemployment data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 47 points, or 0.17% on Thursday. The S&P 500 jumped 0.32%. The Nasdaq Composite outperformed, gaining more than 1% for a record close. The Nasdaq was fueled by major gains in mega-cap technology stocks. Netflix, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Alphabet all rose at least 1%. Tesla jumped more than 6.5%. — Maggie Fitzgerald 

Lyft, Uber pop 7% after ride hailing companies win court delay for converting drivers to employees

Shares of Lyft and Uber rose more than 7% in the final hour of trading Thursday on news the ride hailing companies won a court delay for converting drivers to employees. Earlier in the day, shares of Lyft dropped more than 7% after announcing it will suspend service in California at 11:59 Pacific Time after a court granted a preliminary injunction last week requiring it to reclassify drivers as employees. The temporary reprieve gives Uber and Lyft until 5 p.m. PT on August 25 to file written statements agreeing to expedited procedures stated in the order.— Maggie Fitzgerald

Stocks flat in final hour of trading, tech outperforms

All three major averages were in the green on Thursday with approximately one hour to go in the trading day; however, the gains were capped by investor concern over unemployment data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose just 40 points, or 0.15%. The S&P 500 gained about 0.3%. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped nearly 1% thanks to gains in the so-called FANG stocks. Netflix and Microsoft rose more than 2% a piece. –Maggie Fitzgerald 

Midday movers

Here are a few of the stocks making headlines in Thursday's trading.

L Brands — Shares of L Brands led the S&P 500 higher on Thursday with a rally after the company reported a surprise quarterly profit despite Covid-19 business closures. Sharp demand for soaps and sanitizing products helped lift the company's Bath & Body Works business, while Victoria's Secret saw a 28% climb in online sales.

Estee Lauder — Shares of beauty company plunged following its disappointing quarterly results. Estee Lauder reported a loss of 53 centers per share, far wider a loss than the 19 cents per share expected. Revenue also missed estimates.

CureVac — Shares of the German biotech company jumped after the company announced that it is in advanced talks with the European Commission to supply up to 405 million doses of a potential Covid-19 vaccine. The company's vaccine candidate is currently in phase one trials.

Read more movers here. — Jesse Pound

Tesla breaks above $2,000 for the first time

Shares of Tesla jumped more than 6% to hit an all-time high of $2,000.00 on Thursday, marking the first time the Elon Musk-led company ever crossed the milestone. — Yun Li

Lyft plunges more than 7% after company suspends service in California

Shares of Lyft dropped 7% on Thursday after the ride-hailing company announced it will suspend service in California at 11:59 Pacific Time after a court granted a preliminary injunction last week requiring it to reclassify drivers as employees. Uber also fell about 2.5% to its session low following the announcement. — Yun Li

Cramer warns about getting 'too optimistic' after latest jobs numbers

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Jim Cramer on the latest unemployment data, stimulus and small business struggles

CNBC's Jim Cramer warned that the U.S. economy continues to feel more pain from the coronavirus than what is demonstrated by the stock market's strong recovery. 

"I'm thinking, wait a second, don't get too optimistic. I think it's our nature to be optimistic," Cramer said on "Squawk on the Street." "We like the fact that the market is going higher because our viewers own stocks. But right now we seem gassed."

Following the latest initial jobless claims figures going back over 1 million again, Cramer said, "I think be prepared for more of these numbers." 

"Are these numbers worrisome? Well yes, if you don't get a stimulus package — and yes, if you don't get a vaccine," he added. - Kevin Stankiewicz

Markets at midday: Stocks rise slightly as tech outperforms

The major indexes posted slight gains around midday as traders poured money into the high-flying tech names. The Dow traded just above the flatline, trying to avoid a four-day slide. The S&P 500 gained 0.2% and the Nasdaq outperformed, rising 0.7%. Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Microsoft and Apple all rose more than 1%. —Fred Imbert

Tesla approaching $2,000 a share

Shares of Tesla jumped more than 5% around midday trading on Thursday, to hit an all-time high of $1990.70. The electric car maker's stock has soared more than 20% this week alone, pushing its 2020 gains to a whopping 374%. Investor enthusiasm has been fueled further after Tesla last week announced a 5-for-1 stock split, which is slated to take effect on Aug.31. Stock splits make prices more accessible for individual investors, but do not have any impact on the existing ownership or the fundamentals of the company. — Yun Li

Sen. Elizabeth Warren blasts Kodak loan, demand new investigation

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren on Thursday castigated the Trump administration's decision to offer, and then revoke, a loan made to camera company Eastman Kodak. In a letter viewed by CNBC, the Massachusetts Democrat implored the federal oversight board tasked with monitoring how Covid-19 relief funding is spent to probe the decision-making behind the loan.

"The fiasco surrounding the decision to offer, then revoke, the Kodak loan also raises larger questions about corruption, nepotism, and mismanagement in the Trump Administration's response to COVID-19," Warren wrote to Michael Horowitz, the acting chair of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee. — Thomas Franck

The Dow could fall further behind other major stock benchmarks after Apple splits its stock

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has been banking on Apple to make up for its losses from the coronavirus rout, but the tech giant's planned stock split could end the iPhone maker's major influence on the price-weighted gauge.

At Wednesday's high of $468 that pushed Apple into the $2 trillion club, the tech giant's weighting in the Dow stood at 11.4%, by far the biggest. Apple's 4-to-1 split, which takes effect on Aug. 31, will drop its price to about $117 and boot its ranking all the way down to 16th or 17th. The new Apple weighting in the Dow will fall to just about 3.1%, according to Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices.— Yun Li

JPMorgan sees a ridesharing shutdown in California on Friday

JPMorgan said in a note to clients on Thursday morning that it's "increasingly likely" that the ridesharing companies will shut down beginning on Friday in California after a judge denied the companies' effort to further postpone an order that they classify drivers as employees. The order, which went into effect this past January, is also known as AB5. The firm said the ridesharers could remain dark through the November election when voters will decide on Prop 22, which would direct the companies to implement some labor and wage policies. "A potential silver lining of a CA shutdown is that loss of service could push voters to pass Prop 22 in November, but for now we recognize that Lyft shares are likely range-bound nearterm," said analyst Doug Anmuth, who kept his overweight rating on the stock. Shares of Lyft were down almost 3.3% in early trading while shares of Uber were down almost 2%. - Michael Bloom 

Russia says coronavirus vaccine to be tested on 40,000 people

Russia claimed its coronavirus vaccine will soon be tested on 40,000 people in order to test its reliability. The vaccine, called "Sputnik V," is the first to be registered worldwide after it received domestic regulatory approval earlier this month. The country said full-scale production is slated to start in September. Health experts and public officials, however, have expressed concern over the proposed vaccine, citing the speed of its approval and the lack of available data. The results of two months of small-scale human trials in Russia have not yet been made available to the public. — Sam Meredith, Yun Li 

Stocks open lower as unemployment data weighs

Stocks fell at the start of trading on Thursday as a higher-than-expected jobless claims number pressured equities. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 150 points for a loss of 0.55%. The S&P 500 fell 0.59%, while the Nasdaq traded 0.45% lower. - Pippa Stevens 

Weekly jobless claims back above 1 million

The Labor Department said Thursday that initial jobless claims rose to 1.106 million for the week ending Aug. 15, which was ahead of the 923,000 expected filers, and also higher than the prior week's total.

Continuing claims, which refer to those receiving unemployment benefits for at least two straight weeks, declined by 636,000 to 14.844 million in the week ending Aug. 8. The continuing claims data series is delayed by one week. 

"The data this month is obviously in the midst of UI benefits that were not extended and hopefully the decline in continuing claims reflected people getting jobs without the extra $600 rather than just falling off the rolls," said Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group. "Also, one has to wonder whether some reclosings had an impact on claims but we also have to see in coming weeks what, if any, impact there will be with many schools not reopening and going virtual instead," he added. - Fred Imbert, Pippa Stevens 

Labor market 'treading water' at historically bad levels, economist says

Trevon Logan, an economics professor at Ohio State University, said on "Squawk Box" that he would not read too much into the initial claims numbers from last week coming in higher than expected, but said the overall trend showed the recovery "treading water."

"I think we really have to put this in perspective that none of these numbers are good," Logan said. "Anything approaching or close to a million new claims in any individual week is unprecedented for our economy, and to see it persistently now over several months is a bit dispiriting for where our economy is going."

The economist said that the expiration of the previous stimulus programs would weigh on the economic recovery in the weeks ahead, and the potential layoffs from airlines in October also loom as a threat to the labor market. 

"When we think about some of these programs, industry specific or the ones that were broader like the PPP, eventually they're going to have to show up in consumption because these households don't have other resources," Logan said. — Jesse Pound

Here are Thursday’s biggest analyst calls of the day: Nvidia, Shake Shack, Palo Alto Networks & more

  • Deutsche Bank initiated Palo Alto Networks as buy.
  • JPMorgan reinstated Thermo Fisher as overweight.
  • Wedbush upgraded Shake Shack to outperform from neutral.
  • Morgan Stanley upgraded Elanco to overweight from equal weight.
  • Bank of America raised its price target on Nvidia to $600 from $520.

Pro Subscribers can read more here. - Michael Bloom

Jobless data worse than expected

The Labor Department said Thursday that 1.106 million people filed for first-time jobless claims last week, larger than the 923,000 expected by economists polled by Dow Jones. - Fred Imbert

L Brands pops on strong quarterly sales

Shares of L Brands rose about 5% in the premarket after the Victoria's Secret parent company posted a quarterly revenue that beat analyst expectations. The company said sales came in at $2.32 billion, topping a Refinitiv estimate of $2.21 billion. L Brands also said comparable sales for its Bath & Body Works division rose 87% on a year-over-year basis. —Fred Imbert

China says it will hold trade talks with U.S. in coming days

The Chinese commerce ministry said Wednesday the U.S. and China have agreed to go back to the negotiating table in the coming days to review the progress of their phase one trade deal. Both sides will hold the "discussion over the phone," the ministry said.

The comments came after President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he canceled scheduled trade talks. Top U.S. and Chinese trade officials — U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He — were supposed to hold a video call last weekend for the review. Tensions between the two countries have escalated as of late with the Trump administration imposing sanctions on Chinese officials over Hong Kong and banning transactions with popular Chinese app TikTok. — Yun Li 

Intel pops on buyback announcement

Shares of Intel jumped more than 3% during premarket trading after the company announced an accelerated $10 billion stock buyback program.

The company said it "believes that its common stock is at the time of this announcement trading well below intrinsic valuation, and that these repurchases are prudent at this time, given the strength of the company's balance sheet."

Intel suspended its buyback program on March 24, after announcing the $20 billion repurchase program in October 2019. Shares of Intel have shed 19% this year. - Pippa Stevens

Fed minutes show continued concern for the economy

The minutes from the Federal Reserve's July meeting showed that central bankers remain concerned about the pandemic's impact on the economy. The meeting summary said Fed officials "agreed that the ongoing public health crisis would weigh heavily on economic activity, employment, and inflation in the near term and was posing considerable risks to the economic outlook over the medium term." The minutes also showed little enthusiasm from the Fed for yield curve control, and long-term yields and the dollar index both rose on Wednesday after the minutes were released. — Jesse Pound, Jeff Cox

Estee Lauder tanks on disappointing earnings

Shares of beauty company Estee Lauder plunged more than 5% in premarket trading on Thursday following its disappointing quarterly results. Estee Lauder reported a loss of 53 cents per share, far wider than the 19-cent per share loss expected. Revenue also missed estimates. Estee Lauder made $2.43 billion in revenue, below the forecast of $2.45 billion. The company said it's launching a two-year initiative to rebalance its investments, which will include a reduction in its retail footprint and increased emphasis on digital sales. It also plans to cut up to 2,000 jobs globally. — Maggie Fitzgerald 

Nvidia crushes earnings, data center business surpasses gaming for the first time

Chip stock Nvidia reported quarterly earnings well above Wall Street's forecast on Wednesday. The company earned $2.18 per share on revenue of $3.87 billion. Analysts expected earnings of $1.97 per share on revenue of $3.65 billion. Overall revenue rose 50% on an annualized basis in the quarter which ended on July 26, according to a statement. Nvidia ended up with more data center revenue than gaming revenue for the first time, at $1.75 billion. The company also gave strong guidance; however, the stock ticked lower in premarket trading as investors grew concerned over the valuations of high flying technology companies. Nvidia — which has a market cap of $298 billion — has rallied more than 106% in 2020. — Maggie Fitzgerald 

Economists expect slight decline in jobless claims

The Department of Labor is set to release the initial unemployment claims from last week, and economists surveyed by Dow Jones estimated 923,000 claims. That would be a decline from 963,000 claims in the prior reading, which was the first time the measure was below 1 million since March, but would still be higher than any week during the Great Recession. — Jesse Pound 

Futures lower as Street awaits economic data

U.S. stock index futures were lower on Thursday following a cautious outlook from the Federal Reserve. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.3%, indicating a loss of about 77 points at the open. S&P 500 futures shed 0.3%, while Nasdaq 100 futures were about 0.13% lower.

At 8:30 a.m. ET the Labor Department will release its weekly unemployment claims, giving investors a read on the state of unemployment. Economists polled by Dow Jones forecast some 920,000 first-time applicants.

On Wednesday the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite rose to new all-time highs, before finishing the session in the red following the Federal Reserve's cautious outlook. The Dow also moved lower in its third straight day of losses, the longest losing streak in nearly three months. - Pippa Stevens