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Market Recap: Thursday, September 24

Stocks traded choppily on Thursday, with nervous investors attempting to recuperate from a selloff that’s yanked benchmarks within view of a correction and the Labor Department’s weekly jobless claims report showed that another 870,000 workers filed new unemployment claims, slightly above Wall Street’s estimates. Yahoo Finance's Myles Udland and Seana Smith break it down on The Final Round.

Video Transcript

SEANA SMITH: Welcome back to The Final Round on Yahoo Finance. I'm Seana Smith. We're shaping up at the last 30 seconds of trading, Dow, S&P, and NASDAQ all in the green. The Dow up just around 2/10 of a percent. S&P holding on to gains, and the NASDAQ was the outperformer all day, seems to be right now as we head into the close, with it up just around 3/10 of a percent.

[BELL RINGING]

And that does it for the trading day today. Again, all three of the major averages closing in the green. It was a pretty volatile trading day, when you take a look at the range. The Dow swinging in over 500-point range, closing to the upside, though, up just over 50 points.

The S&P up just around 3/10 of a percent. It's been a very volatile past couple of days. The S&P has traveled in a 100-point range over the past two days.

And taking a look at why we saw a bit of a turnaround this afternoon in the market, it was led by a lot of those tech names. Now, they are closing off the-- off their highs of the day, but Amazon, Apple, and Google all up just around 1%. Facebook also looking like it eked out some gains there. Goldman, it was a top performer in the Dow, up just over 4%, it looks like. UBS upgrading the stock to a buy, saying that the potential election volatility could help the bank in the fourth quarter.

And investors are really digesting the risk that's out there in the market, so concerns about the pandemic, a contentious election. We got that weaker-than-expected reading on initial claims this morning, rising week over week, coming in at 870,000. So some signs there that the recovery in the labor market is stalling just a little bit.

But it wasn't all weak data. Again, housing coming in very strong. We got that new home sales number out this morning. It was another strong report, a 14-year high so, of course, it remains to be seen how much some of that strength in housing can offset the weakness in the other areas of the market.

But I want to bring in my co-host for the next 30 minutes, Myles Udland. And Myles, when we take a look at the market's action today, I mean, it almost seemed like the market was searching for direction for most of the trading day. Stocks did, though, stabilize just a little bit. But what do you make of the action and really, the volatility that we've seen in the market?

MYLES UDLAND: Yeah, I mean, think, look, I think it's now becoming a more consensus view and, you know, part of it is driven by what-- and look, we don't need to get into how consensus is formed, but the fact that the election is now, what, I think 40 days away from right now. So you back out the weekends, you really only have 30, 35 trading sessions before you get to that.

Many Wall Street banks are out talking about there will be uncertainty around the election, contested, however you want to phrase that, but that November 3 and November 4 don't necessarily deliver an answer is a scenario that more people are braced for. And you look at the S&P right now below its 50-day, above its 200-day moving average in that kind of territory, you are going to be looking for direction. You are going to feel direction lifts, I think, as a market more broadly because you've broken the intermediate trend. You haven't yet tested the longer-term trend. And so this is sort of the market we have right now.

And it seems likely because, again, that November 3 date is coming up very quickly, that we're not going to get something like resolution before that. You know, so whether this correction is some kind of long-- doesn't matter how long it's drawn out or how steep the correction is, it's now a corrective phase for the markets, and it's really about the answer we don't know and can't know for some time, which is going to be who the next president is. After that, we can figure out where we go from there. But with the market, again, that sits below-- or sits between those two important moving averages with these kinds of outstanding questions, this is the kind of market we have.