Stocks slide as jobless claims rise, Airbnb IPO on tap

U.S. equity markets fell Thursday morning following a rise in weekly jobless claims and as investors awaited the potential approval of a COVID-19 vaccine and the biggest initial public offering of the year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid more than 100 points, or 0.33%, in the opening minutes of trading while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite were lower by 0.41% and 0.67%, respectively. The early selling comes as the major averages slid off record highs on Wednesday as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected the Trump administration’s COVID-19 stimulus proposal and as selling in momentum stocks took hold after DoorDash’s strong debut.

U.S. jobless claims climbed by 853,000, more than the 725,000 estimate. Continuing claims, meanwhile, rose to 5.757 million, increasing for the first time in 11 weeks.

In vaccine news, a Food and Drug Administration panel is set to vote on recommending the approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 immunization for emergency use authorization. Distribution of the vaccine is expected to begin within 24 hours of approval.

Elsewhere, travel accommodations booking website Airbnb Inc. is set to become the biggest IPO of 2020 after pricing shares at $68 apiece, above the $56 to $60 range that was expected. The offering, which is expected to raise $3.7 billion, values the company at $47 billion on a diluted basis.

Meanwhile, DoorDash Inc. opened lower a day after its blockbuster debut. Shares closed at $189.51 apiece on Wednesday and at $102 the evening prior.

Facebook Inc. shares were on track for a second day of losses after the Federal Trade Commission and 48 U.S. states sued the social-media company alleging anticompetitive business practices.

Starbucks Corp. reaffirmed its fiscal year 2021 guidance and longer-term growth forecasts, which include adjusted earnings growth of at least 20% in 2022.

Costco Wholesale Corp., Lululemon Athletica Inc. and Oracle Corp. are set to report their quarterly results after markets close.

Looking at commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil climbed 92 cents to $46.44 per barrel and gold added $6.90 to $1,845.40 per ounce.


European markets were down after the European Central Bank announced plans to increase its bond-buying program by $500 billion euros to $1.85 trillion. Germany’s DAX was trading lower by 0.89% while France’s CAC 40 slid 0.5% and Britain’s FTSE 100 was off 0.01%.

In Asia, China’s Shanghai Composite index ticked up 0.04%, Japan’s Nikkei 225 slipped 0.23% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index lost 0.35%.

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