Nasdaq ends at fresh record despite higher jobless claims

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NEW YORK – The rocketed to another on Thursday (Aug 20) behind gains from Apple and other tech giants as US stocks shrugged off weak employment data.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index finished up 1.1 per cent at 11,264.95. The index has closed at records more than 30 times in 2020.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.2 per cent to 27,739.73, while the broad-based S&P 500 advanced 0.3 per cent to 3,385.51.

Apple climbed 2.2 per cent a day after becoming the first US company to hit US$2 trillion (S$2.7 trillion) in market value.

Fellow tech giants Amazon, Facebook and Netflix all won at least 1 per cent, reflecting the industry’s continued strength amid the coronavirus, which has kept consumers at home and boosted e-commerce and streaming services.

But disappointing labour data underscored the continued weakness of the US economy.

New for benefits rose to 1.1 million last week, a weaker-than-expected result for a closely-watched benchmark in the wake of coronavirus shutdowns.

The report came after Federal Reserve minutes released Wednesday said more fiscal aid was needed as the coronavirus pandemic rages on.

Among individual companies, Estee Lauder fell 6.6 per cent as it announced it would cut up to 2,000 jobs in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. The cosmetics giant reported a US$462 million loss in the quarter ending June 30.

Ride-haling companies Uber Technologies and Lyft surged 6.8 per cent and 5.8 per cent after a California appeals court gave the companies a reprieve from being required to reclassify drivers as employees in their home state of California.

Shortly before the appeals court decision, Lyft said it would suspend its rideshare service in California rather than classify drivers as employees entitled to benefits.

Dow member Intel rose 1.7 per cent after saying it reached accelerated share repurchase agreements to buy back US$10 billion of the company’s stock.

American Airlines dropped 1.4 per cent as it announced it will eliminate service to 15 smaller US markets as cash-strapped carriers downsize their operations to cope with the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

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