Stock market live Thursday: Dow drops 300, vaccine rally almost gone, broad sell-off

The major stock averages declined on Thursday as a rally that started earlier this week lost ground amid a rising number of coronavirus cases.

Thursday's sell-off by the numbers

  • Dow closed down 317.46 points, or 1.08%, for its second-straight negative day
  • Dow is up 2.67% week to date on pace for its second-straight positive week
  • Dow is up 1.9% year to date
  • S&P 500 fell 1.00%
  • S&P 500 is up 0.79% week to date
  • Eleven out of 11 sectors were negative Thursday led by energy down 3.39%
  • Nasdaq Composite closed down 0.65% for its third negative day in three
  • Russell 2000 small caps closed down 1.64%
  • Small caps are up 3.91% week to date on pace for their second straight positive week.

— Gina Francolla, Jesse Pound

Stocks slide on Thursday

The major indexes lost ground in the afternoon of a choppy session Thursday. The Dow finished down 319 points, or about 1.1%. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 1% and 0.7%, respectively.

— Jesse Pound

Vaccine rally almost gone for S&P 500

Thursday's decline has nearly erased the vaccine rally for the S&P 500. The broad market index is now up roughly 0.5% for the week after sliding more than 1% during Thursday's session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is still up about 600 points week to date.

— Jesse Pound

Final hour of trade

With less than an hour to go in Thursday's session, the Dow was off of session lows but still down nearly 400 points. The S&P 500 was down 1.2%, while the Nasdaq Composite was off 0.7%.

Market breadth was to the downside, with declining stocks outnumber advancing ones roughly 10-to-1 in the S&P 500.

— Jesse Pound

Chicago mayor asks residents to stay at home

Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot issued a stay-at-home advisory for the city, asking citizens to stay inside except for essential reasons and to cancel traditional Thanksgiving plans. The advisory goes into effect on Monday, according to Lightfoot's Twitter account.

— Jesse Pound

Dow continues to slip

The Dow's losses widened in the early afternoon, with the 30-stock average briefly down 400 points. The Dow last traded down 390 points, with the S&P 500 down 1.2% and the Nasdaq Composite down 0.7%.

— Jesse Pound

Moderna, Fossil highlight midday movers

Moderna — Shares of the biotech company rose 3.7% after Moderna announced that it had reached the number of Covid-19 cases needed in its phase-three vaccine trial to submit the preliminary data to an independent review board.

Fossil Group — The watchmaker's stock rose more than 23% after Fossil reported an adjusted 31 cents in earnings per share on $435.5 million of net sales during the quarter. That was a 19% decline in net sales year over year, but the company managed to grow its margins, crediting cost-cutting measures.

Energizer Holdings — Shares of the battery manufacturer tanked more than 11% following its disappointing earnings report.

Check out more movers here.

— Jesse Pound

Global stock market value rises to a record $95 trillion

The total value of the stock markets around the world just hit an all-time high of $95 trillion through Wednesday, according to Torsten Slok, chief economist at Apollo Global Management. Stocks' latest run to new highs was triggered by surprise news that Pfizer and BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine was more than 90% effective. But the biggest driving force behind the seven-month rebound has been global central banks' unprecedented easing measures as well as governments' fiscal stimulus.

Yun Li

Markets at midday: Stocks wobble as coronavirus cases keep rising

The Dow and S&P 500 dipped on Thursday as traders retreated from value stocks amid a rising number of coronavirus cases. The 30-stock Dow dipped more than 100 points, or 0.4%. The S&P 500 also slipped 0.4%. The Nasdaq Composite eked out a small gain as some tech shares rose slightly.

Fred Imbert

Tom Lee says watch out for Vix below 20

Fudstrat's Tom Lee said if the Cboe Volatility Index, a measure of investor fear, drops below 20, a level not seen since before the Covid-19 pandemic, it will send a powerful buy signal to investors.

"In our view, a move <20 would be a major risk-on signal, as it would suggest that investors see lower volatility in the coming months," Lee old clients on Thursday. "In other words, this would be more firepower to buy equities."

The VIX —where currently sits around 24 —spiked above 82 in March during the fastest bear market in history. However, Lee said improving vaccine news could push the index below the key 20 level and unlock powerful momentum from equity investors.

— Maggie Fitzgerald

Cramer worries some on Wall Street are 'too positive' despite Covid spikes

CNBC's Jim Cramer said he believes investors will be able to find more attractive entry points into the market, citing what he thinks is an overly optimistic attitude held by some on Wall Street in the face of rising coronavirus cases.

"I think there's too many people who are positive. I think you let it come in a little," Cramer said on "Squawk Box." The host of "Mad Money" pointed to new businesses restrictions being imposed by states, as well as the fact it may be until the middle of next year that a vaccine is widely available.

"I'm beginning to worry that there are companies that really had their hopes up and their hopes are dashed, but there's nothing replacing it until this amorphous May period," he said.

Kevin Stankiewicz

Fauci says 'help is on the way' in fight against coronavirus

White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday that a Covid-19 vaccine was on the horizon.

"The cavalry is coming but don't put your weapons down, you better keep fighting because they are not here yet," Fauci said at a webinar event hosted by think tank Chatham House. "Help is on the way, but it isn't here yet."

Fauci's comments came as the coronavirus case load continues to grow. On Wednesday alone, more than 144,000 infections were confirmed in the U.S. The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases also warned the virus may never be fully wiped out.

"I doubt we are going to eradicate this," he said. "I think we need to plan that this is something we may need to maintain control over chronically. It may be something that becomes endemic, that we have to just be careful about."

Sam Meredith, Fred Imbert

Morgan Stanley's Mike Wilson responds to Goldman's big call

On CNBC's "Squawk Box," Morgan Stanley's Mike Wilson said he was skeptical of Goldman Sachs 4,300 S&P 500 target for the end of 2021, but agreed there was upside in parts of the stock market.

"I think that's a possibility. That seems like a lot. The way we think about it is that we think the average stock could easily be up 20%," Wilson said. "We're into the part of the recovery now where the average stock is going to do better than the broad index. So we're trying not to focus so much on the index level and trying to find these pockets of opportunity where stocks can go up a lot more than 20% even."

— Jesse Pound

Dow, S&P 500 drop at open as rally takes a breather

Both the Dow Jones Industrial and the S&P 500 lost ground at the opening of regular trading in New York.

The blue-chip Dow lost 155 points, or 0.5%, as Salesforce, Goldman Sachs and Boeing all lost at least 1%. The S&P 500 followed suit and fell 0.35% within the first minute of trading.

The Nasdaq Composite, the relative outperformer, added 0.1% at the start of Thursday's session with Facebook, Netflix and PayPal trading in positive territory.

Thomas Franck

Weekly jobless claims fall for a fourth straight week

In another sign of the labor market recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. government reported that initial weekly jobless claims fell for a fourth week in a row. Specifically, initial claims totaled 709,000 for the week ending Nov. 7.

Continuing claims, which include those receiving unemployment benefits for at least two straight weeks, also declined to 6.79 million, the Labor Department said.

Fred Imbert, Jeff Cox

Here are Thursday’s biggest analyst calls of the day: Salesforce, Nike, Costco, Disney & more

  • Morgan Stanley raised its price target on Disney to $160 from $135.
  • RBC initiated Nike as outperform.
  • Morgan Stanley downgraded Salesforce to equal weight from overweight.
  • Oppenheimer named Costco as its favorite holiday idea.
  • Northcoast upgraded Wendy's to buy from hold.

Pro subscribers can read more here.

—Michael Bloom

Value rotation could persist this time, Citi's Levkovich says

Citi's chief U.S. equity strategist, Tobias Levkovich, said there are some reasons to believe this most-recent rotation into value names could continue for a while.

The strategist noted that "more vaccines and better therapeutics likely are coming, allowing for some return to a semblance of normal" and added that Wall Street will likely "witness a significant change in business activity beginning in February/March next year due to difficult and easy comparisons for both COVID-19 beneficiaries and impaired companies, respectively."

Levkovich pointed out that many investors could be hesitant to about this latest shift into value as previous instances have resulted in growth quickly retaking market leadership. However, he also noted "there are at least five reasons to consider the 'value' trade as being more rational this time around."

Fred Imbert, Michael Bloom

Moderna shares up 3% premarket after vaccine update

Shares of biotechnology company Moderna rose about 3% in the premarket session after it announced Wednesday evening that it has enough cases to begin interim analysis of its Covid-19 vaccine.

Moderna said there was a significant increase in cases among study subjects in the past week as the disease continued to infect a record number of Americans in recent days.

The company said it will send data about the cases to an independent data-safety monitoring board. If the board finds that people who received Moderna's vaccine were far less likely to develop Covid-19, its vaccine could be deemed effective and set the company up for regulatory authorization for widespread use.

Thomas Franck

Don't get 'over-exposed' to growth stocks, JPMorgan strategist says

JPMorgan strategist Dubravko Lakos-Bujas warned against being overly invested in high-flying growth names as value stocks could pick up steam moving forward.

"We maintain our view that investors should consider balancing out their portfolios to make sure they are not over-exposed to high Momentum/Growth stocks, which have outperformed during the pandemic, and under-exposed or shorting Value stocks that will benefit from economy reopening," Lakos-Bujas said in a note.

His comments came after positive vaccine news from Pfizer and BioNTech sparked a sharp rotation out of growth stocks and into value names earlier in the week.

Fred Imbert

Stocks futures little changed as vaccine rally takes a break

U.S. stock futures traded lower Thursday morning with just over two hours before the opening bell on Wall Street, marking a pause to an otherwise buoyant week for equities.

Contracts tied to the S&P 500 lost 0.35% while Dow futures slipped 0.65%, suggesting an opening drop of about 190 points. Nasdaq 100 futures traded flat to slightly higher.

Despite what appeared to be shaping up to be a lackluster trading session on Thursday, U.S. stocks have otherwise had a strong week on the heels of Pfizer's promising vaccine trial results.

By Wednesday's close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had rallied more than 3.75% for the week. The S&P 500 is up 1.8% over the same period. The Nasdaq Composite, which lagged its peers as investors rotated out of popular stay-at-home trades like Amazon, is down 0.9% on the week.

Thomas Franck