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Stocks - Dow Struggles for Direction Amid Labor Market Pain, Tech Jump

By Yasin Ebrahim 

Investing.com – The Dow swung between gains and losses on Thursday as investors weighed up further signs of trouble in the labor market against mostly bullish earnings and efforts on opening the U.S. economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.10%%, the S&P 500 gained 0.22%, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.26%.

Just days ahead of the crucial nonfarm payrolls data, ADP (NASDAQ:ADP) reported jobs in the private labor market fell by 20.2 million last month, the worst decline on record, serving as a stark reminder that the economy, and in particular the strength of consumer, is unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon even as the U.S. begins to reopen.

Ongoing appetite for tech stocks, however, led by FAANG and chip stocks kept the broader market in check.

The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index climbed 2%, led by a surge in KLA-Tencor (NASDAQ:KLAC), Xilinx (NASDAQ:XLNX) and Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT).

On the earnings front, meanwhile, investors digested mostly bullish quarterly results from corporates.

General Motors (NYSE:GM) rose 4.4% after reporting first-quarter earnings that topped consensus estimates.

Wendy’s (NASDAQ:WEN) rallied 6.5% after the declines in same-restaurant sales narrowed each week through April, while first-quarter results slowed from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Shopify (NYSE:SHOP) jumped 5.4% as revenue topped estimates amid a surge in demand for e-commerce as the pandemic has shuttered offline businesses.

Pinterest (NYSE:PINS) reported revenue that topped estimates, but the social media company warned on gross margins as advertising income slowed in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, sending its shares 12.6% lower.

Energy stocks were among the biggest decliners on the day, as oil prices fell amid ongoing concerns about a glut in supply, but a smaller-than-expected build in weekly U.S. crude inventories kept a lid on losses.

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