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Stock Market Today: Markets Dip Despite Upbeat Jobs Data

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·3 min read
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Concept art of a bad stock drop.
Concept art of a bad stock drop. Getty Images

Stocks closed lower Thursday after strong jobs data got traders fretting once again about the specter of inflation.

With tomorrow's monthly payrolls report on deck, today we learned weekly initial unemployment claims dropped below 400,000 for the first time since March 2020, an indication of a labor market on the mend. ADP's own data puts May's new-jobs number at 1 million, a figure well ahead of economists' estimates.

Although April's dismal numbers surprised and disappointed investors, the possibility of a red-hot May report tomorrow morning was enough to stoke inflation fears and, in turn, anxiety over interest rates.

"This morning’s economic data has rates moving higher," writes Michael Reinking, senior market strategist at the New York Stock Exchange. "Just as the Street seemed to coalesce around the idea of another disappointing jobs number tomorrow, the ADP employment report came in at 1.5-times the Street estimate. Keep in mind, last month’s ADP report was also much stronger than the official data."

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As has been the pattern, big, pricey tech stocks such as Microsoft (MSFT, -0.6%), Amazon.com (AMZN, -1.5%) and Apple (AAPL, -1.2%) suffered the brunt of the selling. The more value-oriented Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped less than 0.1% to close at 34,577, while the broader S&P 500 dipped 0.4% to finish at 4,192. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite was the laggard of the major indexes, falling 1.0% to settle at 13,614.

Other action in the stock market today:

  • The Russell 2000 small-cap index fell 0.8% to close at 2,279.

  • AMC Entertainment (AMC, -17.9%) swung wildly as it sold a total of 11.6 million shares at an average price of $50.85 a share. The offering, which raised $587.4 million in new equity, coincided with the stock falling almost 40% at one point during the session.

  • Tesla (TSLA, -5.3%) tumbled on a report that the electric-vehicle maker's orders in China fell by nearly half in May compared with April.

  • U.S. crude oil futures rose 0.1% to $68.89 a barrel.

  • Gold futures gained 1.9% to $1,873.20 an ounce.

  • Bitcoin prices increased 2.3% to $38,623. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)

market chart 6321
market chart 6321

YCharts

Traders trade and investors invest

And that difference between the two often affords the latter an advantage.

It is, of course, too soon to know if inflation fears are overblown or not, but the "good news is bad news trade" we saw Thursday has long been a staple of bull markets. Such markets are also said to "climb a wall of worry," among too many other cliches.

As dizzying as traders' daily mood swings can be, they do give long-term investors a chance to buy good stocks at lower prices. Just have a look at some of the stocks billionaires are buying these days. The big money is scooping up lagging tech stocks, in some cases even starting big positions in names as unloved as Dow stock Intel (INTC).

Indeed, bargain hunters can find value picks aplenty throughout the tech sector. And it's not for nothing that some of Wall Street's highest-rated stocks can be found in the market-lagging Nasdaq Composite index.

So before you follow skittish traders blindy out of tech and other growthier stocks this year, consider that it might be time to go shopping while some of these names are on sale. With that in mind, have a look at 11 of the best tech stocks to buy for the rest of 2021.