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Market Recap: Thursday, October 15

Stocks fell Thursday for a third straight session as investors considered fast-dimming prospects for fiscal stimulus before the U.S. election and a host of new virus-related restrictions in Europe. A disappointing print on new jobless claims also contributed to the risk-off mood, with new unemployment insurance claims hitting the highest level since mid-August. The Final Round panel breaks down the details.

Video Transcript

SEANA SMITH: Welcome back to "The Final Round" here on Yahoo Finance. We have stocks coming back here in the final couple hours of trading. The Dow was off over 300 points earlier today, as we count down to the closing bell, which is just around 15 seconds from now. The Dow, S&P, and NASDAQ are still all in the red. The Dow right around the flatline. The S&P off just around 2/10 of 1%. And the NASDAQ has been the worst performer all day. That average off just around a half of 1%.

[BELL RINGING]

[APPLAUSE]

And that does it for the trading day today. Again, all three of the major averages look to be closing in the red. The Dow making huge come back here in the final couple hours of trading. It was up off 300 points earlier today.

A couple of things at play as to why we're seeing some downward pressure in the broader markets. Of course, first of all, that uncertainty over stimulus, that is weighing on the markets. We're going to have a little bit more on that coming up in just a couple of minutes. And then, the coronavirus case count headed in the wrong direction here in the US and also overseas in Europe. So that's triggering some fear here amongst investors over the last couple of days.

Taking a look at the sector action today-- real estate, financials, and energy are the leaders today. Financials, it's been a couple of days since we've seen that sector in the green. A lot of it today has to do with earnings. Morgan Stanley beat. That report was out before the bell this morning. Shares moving to the upside today. And Charles Schwab, it's the biggest gainer in the XLF. That's a SPDR financial ETF there. Charles Schwab up just around 4% on that beat.

And then we also have to mention the econ data today, because I think that's one of the other things that is weighing on the broader market action. We had jobless claims coming in worse than expected-- 898,000. It's the highest weekly number that we have seen since August. And of course, it's another sign that the recovery in the labor market is plateauing a bit.

I want to bring in my co-host Jen Rogers. She's here in for Myles Udland. We also have Rick Newman and Akiko Fujita with us for the next 30 minutes. And Jen, let me send it over to you first. We have declines once again. I think stimulus is one of those reasons. We had that weaker-than-expected jobs report on claims is also in the mix there. But financials, it's been a while since we've seen that as one of the winners here in the market.

JEN ROGERS: Yeah, financials having a nice run here and JP Morgan, which had posted earlier in the week. And you know, on the face of it, it looked pretty good, but didn't do well that day, getting a boost here today and that helping the Dow. It was up almost 1.5%.

So just a little bit of confirmation. It's always nice when you get a couple other people saying the same thing that you're saying and that it's looking good. So again, if you had to back out, though, XLF we all know has not been that great overall. But today, not bad.

I have to tell you-- I mean, looking at a lot of these numbers-- we had Amazon come out, saying that its third-party sellers sold $3.5 billion worth of goods. People making some hay on that. The only number that I really am paying attention to is on the labor front. And you called that out. And I think we-- we can't ignore this. I mean, claims increasing 898,000 last week. That's above our pre-pandemic high of 695,000.

Yes, we have steadily declined from a peak of near seven million in March, but the layoffs are not stopping. And this has serious ramifications, I mean, obviously, for the people that have lost their jobs. And we're seeing people being unemployed, possibly permanently. This is persisting.

You know, the people that have maxed out on their claims, we don't even have those factored in. California, we've got a backlog there. So I don't think we know exactly how bad the picture is. I think that that's a really important number to be watching today.

SEANA SMITH: Yeah, certainly is very important here, as investors trying to gauge just where we are at in this economic recovery. And then, of course, if we don't get more stimulus out of Washington, just how big of a headwind and how big of a challenge that is going to be for this recovery here going forward, and then, of course, what that means for the labor market.