Nasdaq closes at record as traders cheer strong jobs report

US stocks gained on Thursday after June jobs data beat expectations and further fueled hopes for a near-term economic rebound. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index closed at a record high.

The nation’s economy added 4.8 million nonfarm payrolls last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Thursday morning. That exceeded the consensus economist forecast, which predicted 3 million job additions.

The unemployment rate fell to 11.1%, lower than the economist forecast of 12.5%, and down from 13.3% in May.

The release reveals healthy hiring activity taking place amid ongoing economic-reopening efforts. However, the report’s data doesn’t cover recent weeks in which coronavirus case counts soared across several states. The virus’ resurgence has some experts fearing a second bout of economic pain.

“High-frequency data suggests that the labor market strength had started to wane later in the month, perhaps as households and businesses grew increasingly cautious about the rise in infection rates,” said Seema Shah, chief strategist at Principal Global Investors.

She added: “Indeed, now, with the closings having been reversed or paused across 40% of the US, July’s job report may paint a much weaker story.”

Indexes trimmed gains through the morning and largely traded flat in the afternoon following the positive data.

In separate labor market data, jobless claims fell to 1.43 million in the week ended June 27. That was a slight decline from 1.48 million the prior week. Continuing claims, which track ongoing unemployment benefits, came in at 19.3 million for the week ended June 20.

Tesla stock skyrocketed to a record high after second-quarter deliveries came in above estimates. The automaker delivered roughly 90,650 vehicles in the period. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected 72,000 second-quarter deliveries, according to CNBC.

Tech-driven insurance company Lemonade spiked as much as 132% in its trading debut on Thursday. The Softbank-backed firm raised $319 million in the initial public offering, bringing its total valuation to $1.6 billion.

Boeing helped lift the Dow before paring gains later in the session. Shares bounced after the company completed recertification flights of its troubled 737 MAX model.

Oil prices climbed. West Texas Intermediate crude climbed as much as 2.3%, to $40.74 per barrel. International benchmark Brent crude gained 2.9%, to $43.23 per barrel, at intraday highs.

Thursday’s upswing follows a mixed session for equities. Stocks whipsawed on Wednesday as investors mulled positive COVID-19 vaccine trial results from Pfizer and soaring case counts across the US. June payroll data from ADP came in lower than hoped for, leaving some to fear a disappointment in Thursday’s jobs reports.

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