Stocks were higher on Thursday as tech shares recouped some of their recent losses while traders evaluated the latest batch of economic data.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 250 points, or 0.9%. At it’s session low, the Dow was down 226 points. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite traded higher by 1% and 1.2%, respectively.
Shares of Apple gained 2.2%. Microsoft and Alphabet were up 2.2% and 1.2%, respectively while Amazon traded 1.6% higher.
First-time claims for state unemployment benefits totaled 870,000 for the week ending Sept. 19, higher than a Dow Jones estimate of 850,000. Continuing claims which includes those who have collected unemployment benefits for at least two straight weeks — declined slightly but were still higher than forecast.
“Claims, arguable the most important high frequency data point currently, missed expectations and moved up week-over-week,” Evercore ISI strategist Dennis DeBusschere, said in a note Thursday.
“With the Fed decreasing it own credibility by continually emphasizing the ineffectiveness of monetary policy and begging for fiscal support, weaker data will have a big impact on risk assets. Particularly if the fiscal cliff starts to bite, which some indicators indicates might be starting.”
Still, the Census Bureau noted that new home sales in the U.S. totaled just over 1 million in August. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected a gain of 898,000.
“People are getting anxious about what kind of economic recovery we’re going to get in the next few months,” said Megan Horneman, director of portfolio strategy at Verdence Capital Advisors.
“Some parts of the economy are doing well and some are slowing down a bit.”
The mixed economic data came as the U.S. government faces a likely fiscal cliff by the end of the month.
Wall Street is also grappling with an absence of new fiscal stimulus, which several economists and the Federal Reserve assert is required for the economic recovery to continue.
This lack of a stimulus bill led Goldman Sachs to slash its fourth-quarter GDP forecast to 3% from 6% on an annualized basis.