Dow ends 360 points lower but Nasdaq notches 26th record of 2020 as investors find safety in tech

U.S. stocks closed mostly lower Thursday, but off the low of the day, as investors sought safety in technology and tech-related investments amid rising cases of coronavirus in states like Arizona and Florida.

A 7-2 Supreme Court decision ruling that a New York prosecutor could have access to President Donald Trump’s tax returns, also was parsed by Wall Street.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 361.19 points, or 1.4%, to end at 25,706.09, but had been down by as many as 544 points at the day’s low. The blue-chip index was weighed down by component Walgreens.

The S&P 500 index lost 17.89 points, or 0.6%, at 3,152.05, after touching an intraday low at 3,115.70. The Nasdaq Composite Index resumed its advance following a stint in negative territory, with the tech-laden index closing up 55.25 points, or 0.5%, at 10,547.75, marking its second record in a row and its 26th of 2020.

The Nasdaq-100 index
consisting of the largest companies within the Nasdaq by market value, closed up 0.8% at 10,754.59, while the small-cap Russell 2000 index
more sensitive to the economic outlook, finished off 2% at 1,398.92.

What’s driving the market?

It was a bumpy ride for stocks Thursday, with investors clutching for a handful of technology stocks amid resurgent concerns about the shape of the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to wreak havoc on the domestic economy.

Investors are betting that large-cap tech names will be the clear winners in the aftermath of the viral pandemic, supported by a heavy dose of stimulus by the Federal Reserve and the U.S. government.

Stocks may have taken a leg lower late-morning after the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the president lacks immunity to withhold his tax returns from prosecutors. It was a bit of a “knee-jerk” reaction, said Joe Saluzzi, co-manager of trading at Themis Trading.

“Markets are a bit more friendly to the president and his policies,” Saluzzi said in an interview, “so anything that’s seen as negative to him might provoke a tiny reaction. “

The moves come after a report on weekly jobless claims showed that another 1.3 million Americans filed for first-time employment benefits in the most recent week, below the 1.4 million forecast in the MarketWatch survey, and down from 1.43 million in the prior week.

That keeps intact a decelerating trend since peaking last March, but still marks the 15th straight week of claims of at least a million.

“Initial claims remain very high and the improvement since late March has almost come to a halt,” wrote analysts at UniCredit in a daily research note. “The re-imposition of restrictions in several states facing growing numbers of new COVID-19 cases could have already had an effect,” the analysts said.

The jobless claims report came about a week after the monthly nonfarm-payroll report showed that U.S. economy regained 7.5 million jobs in May and June. That pales compared with the 22 million jobs lost during the first two months of the pandemic.

Against that backdrop, infections derived from the novel strain of coronavirus haven’t abated. Bloomberg News reported that Florida saw records in both new hospitalizations and deaths, while Arizona added 4,057 new cases.

Overall, the U.S. reported more than 58,000 new cases on Wednesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, down slightly from the previous day. The country’s death toll stands at more than 132,309.

During a podcast with the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the foremost expert on infectious diseases in the U.S., said that we remain in the throes of the first wave of the deadly pandemic.

“We have never gotten out of the first wave,” he said. “So I wish we would stop talking about waves and just look at the reality of where we are right now. ”

Indeed, cases in California, Texas and Florida, hot spots in this resurgence, also hit new daily record highs on Wednesday.

That said, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has encouraged Walt Disney Co
to proceed with its phased plan to reopen its theme parks starting on Thursday and through July 15. In New York, indoor shopping malls outside of New York City are eligible to reopen Friday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC during an interview on Thursday that the Trump administration supports a narrower aid package for Americans hurt by the pandemic. Mnuchin said that the White House backs a further extension of the Paycheck Protection Program, which has been extended to Aug. 8, and stimulus checks for individuals but at lesser level than the initial phases of recovery aid.

“The market has priced in the reality that virus is something we have to live with, mortalities are under control, and we’re not going back to a full societal lockdown,” said David Bahnsen, chief investment officer of Newport Beach, Calif.-based The Bahnsen Group, with over $2.25 billion in assets. 

“The market’s much more focused on the Fed,” Bahnsen said in an interview, “which is not necessarily a good thing but it’s sure hard for the market to form an opinion against risk assets with the liquidity and tight spreads that the Fed has produced.” 

Check out: Coronavirus tally: Global cases of COVID-19 top 12 million; 549,846 deaths and 38 U.S. states still see rising cases

Which stocks are in focus?

  • Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond

    sank 24.5% after the retailer said it would close 20% of its stores.

  • U.S.-listed shares of Hexo Corp.

    rose by about 6% Thursday, after the Canada-based cannabis company said it would start selling medical cannabis in Israel, marking the first time its medical cannabis products will be available outside of Canada.

  • Shares of Allegiant Travel Co.

    slid 7.7% even though the company said its bookings averaged $4 million a day, “exceeding” its expectations.

  • Tesla Inc.

    shares powered 2.1% higher on the back of a Wedbush analysis suggesting the car company may see a “snapback of demand.”

  • Shares of Harley-Davidson Inc.

    rose 0.6% Thursday after the motorcycle maker disclosed that it will cut about 14% of its workforce as part of a restructuring, and said Chief Financial Officer John Olin is stepping down, effective immediately, after 10 years in the role.

  • Walgreens Boots Alliance

    stock closed down nearly 8% after the pharmacy chain said it would cut 4,000 jobs.

  • Shares of Wells Fargo & Co.

    fell 2.1% on reports that the bank is seen cutting thousands of jobs.

How are other assets performing?

West Texas Intermediate U.S. crude futures for August delivery fell by $1.28, or 3.1%, to settle at $39.62 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, as virus concerns dogged demand on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In precious metals, August gold futures

fell $16.80, or 0.9%, to settle at $1,803.80 an ounce, after hitting its highest level since Sept. 2011 on Wednesday.

The 10-year Treasury note yield was down fell 3.6 basis point to 0.617%, around its lowest level since May 14. Bond prices move inversely to yields.

The greenback rose 0.4% against a basket of its major rivals, based on trading in the ICE U.S. Dollar Index. 

In European equities, the Stoxx Europe 600 index closed 0.8% lower, and London’s FTSE 100 fell 1.7%. In Asian markets overnight, China’s benchmark CSI 300 Index gained 1.4%, extending its weekly rally. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.3%.

See also: ‘The market isn’t pricing in an all-clear on the economy,’ say BofA analysts, who say the S&P 500 will end the year at 2900

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Here’s why carbon emissions at utilities can fall even during a powerful economy

Carbon emissions from the U.S. power sector fell 8% last year even with the economy growing, as utilities increasingly dropped coal for cheaper natural gas and renewables.

The analysis, in a report called Benchmarking Air Emissions of the 100 Largest Electric Power Producers in the United States, examines and compares key air pollutant emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon dioxide (CO2) and mercury from the 100 largest U.S. power producers.

The report, issued by sustainable-investing advocates Ceres and other partners, including power industry participants, found that power sector CO2 emissions decreased 8% between 2018 and 2019, while SO2 and NOx emissions decreased 23% and 14%, respectively. During that time, U.S. GDP rose 2.3%, meaning that an expanding economy pushed utilities to churn out more power yet because of the energy mix, emissions were down. Widening the snapshot, from 2000 to 2019, CO2 emissions decreased 28% while GDP grew 45%.

“While experts expect an even more dramatic plunge [in emissions] in 2020 due, in part, to the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be critical to ensure we continue the momentum in decarbonizing the power sector,” said Dan Bakal, senior director of electric power at Ceres. “Utilities should deploy zero-carbon resources and electrify other sectors in order to accelerate the pace of decarbonization as the economy recovers and energy demand increases.”

Cutting emissions is a key focus of public-health advocates and those working on policy and private-sector shifts to slow the effects of man-made climate change.

In 2019, renewables and other zero-carbon resources, led by nuclear power, generated more than 35.7% of U.S. electricity. Natural gas

, a fossil fuel that emits about half the carbon as coal but has its own detractors, was the most used source at 38.4%. Coal provided 23.4% of the nation’s electricity, down from about 50% a decade ago.

Last year, zero-carbon resources, including nuclear, renewables and hydro, generated 36% of U.S. electricity, making it the second-leading source of power generation after natural gas. Non-hydro renewable generation, which includes wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass, has more than doubled since 2000. Renewables provided more power than coal for the first time last year, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Natural gas is often still criticized by industries pushing for more solar, wind and other zero-carbon renewable sources. Utilities maintain that they need to keep using natural gas because the wind and the sun are too unreliable and because utilities are slow to invest in energy storage.

A report in June by the University of California, Berkeley, said that by 2035, the U.S. electric grid could get 90% of its power without greenhouse gas emissions while lowering electricity rates. To do that, the country would have to increase its use of renewables, energy storage and transmission lines while closing all coal plants and cutting natural gas use by 70%.

The benchmarking utility analysis is the 16th edition of the report since 1997. The analysis is a collaborative effort between Ceres; Bank of America; power producers Entergy

, Exelon

, and independent energy company Tenaska; as well as the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). It is authored by M. J. Bradley & Associates.

Increased ambition from power sector companies is critical to decarbonization, and to succeed in tackling the broader issues relating to the climate crisis, say Ceres and other advocates. Some of the highest emitting power companies have recently made voluntary commitments to reduce their emissions to net-zero by 2050. Over the past two years Southern Company

, Xcel

, Duke

, Dominion Energy

, NRG Energy

, CMS Energy

, DTE Energy

, and Arizona utility APS have all committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

“We are on track to meeting our 2030 climate commitment by transforming our generation portfolio to cleaner resources and investing in our utility-owned nuclear facilities,” said Mike Twomey, Entergy’s senior vice president of federal policy, regulatory and government affairs.

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Coronavirus update: U.S. COVID-19 cases climb above 2.9 million; ‘We’re still knee-deep in the first wave,’ Dr. Fauci warns

The number of U.S. cases of the coronavirus illness COVID-19 climbed above 2.9 million on Tuesday, data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University showed, as Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Americans the country is “still knee-deep in the first wave,” and reiterated his message to young people that they are not invulnerable.

In an interview livestreamed on Twitter and Facebook with the head of the National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins, Fauci said that unlike Europe, U.S. communities “never came down to baseline and now are surging back up.”

His warning came after the July 4 holiday weekend featured widely shared images of young people partying and drinking without wearing face masks or attempting to socially distance, measures that health experts say are key to containing the spread.

While President Donald Trump said over the weekend that 99% of coronavirus cases are “harmless,” many states are still reporting climbing and alarming hospitalization rates. Arizona reached 89% capacity for intensive care unit beds on Monday, and other states, including Texas and California were expressing concerns about their hospitals rapidly filling.

See:Here’s one ‘remarkable’ difference between COVID-19 and the 1918 Spanish flu

In Florida’s Miami-Dade Country, Mayor Carlos Gimenez rolled back a reopening plan with an executive order shutting down restaurants and gyms, along with ballrooms, banquet facilities, party venues and short-term rentals.

“We are still tracking the spike in the number of cases involving 18- to 34-year-olds that began in mid-June, which the County’s medical experts say was caused by a number of factors, including young people going to congested places — indoors and outside — without taking precautions such as wearing masks and practicing social distancing,” Gimenez said in the order.

Doctors said graduation parties, gatherings at restaurants that turned into packed parties in violation of the rules, and street protests where people could not maintain social distancing and where not everyone was wearing facial coverings were behind the spike, he said.

Fauci said a much hoped for vaccine for COVID-19 may not be the home run people are expecting.

It’s not going to be like a measles vaccine,” he said in the interview. “So there’s going to be follow-up in those cases to see if we might need a boost. We might need a boost to continue the protection, but right now we do not know how long it lasts.”

Vaccinations for measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, human papillomavirus and even influenza all require boosters to remain effective.

The virus has killed 130,312 Americans, the highest death toll in the world.

See:Your boss wants you back at work — An employment law expert explains your rights

A New York Times tracker shows that 40 states and territories have recorded increasing cases over the last 14 days, while just two, Washington, D.C., and New Hampshire, are reporting a decline in new cases and 12 are unchanged. And while the number of deaths is stable, that number is expected to rise in the coming weeks given deaths lag the infection rate and there will likely be a cluster of fresh cases within five days of the holiday weekend.

Latest tallies

There are now 11.65 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 world-wide, according to the Johns Hopkins data, and at least 539,058 people have died. At least 6.3 million people have recovered.

Brazil has the second highest case tally at 1.6 million and the second highest death toll at 65,487.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsanaro, a virus skeptic who has been widely criticized for his blasé approach to dealing with the crisis, has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Guardian. Bolsanaro also had his lungs scanned after he had symptoms, including a high fever.

See:How is coronavirus changing us? 12 life lessons we are learning

The right-wing populist has repeatedly played down the seriousness of the disease, has refused to wear a mask in public and attended several events, including a July 4 lunch with the U.S. ambassador at which he was photographed unmasked and posing close to a group of eight men.

India has the next highest case toll at 719,664, followed by Russia with 693,214, Peru with 305,703 and Chile with 298,557.

The U.K. has 287,291 cases and 44,321 deaths, the highest in Europe and third highest in the world.

China, where the first cases were reported late last year, has 84,889 cases and 4,641 deaths.

In Australia, the city of Melbourne has reimposed a strict stay-at-home order for six weeks, after reporting 191 new cases in a single day, the Guardian reported.

Australia has 8,755 confirmed cases and 106 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins data.

What’s the latest medical news?

Novavax Inc.
has received $1.6 billion in funding from the federal government’s accelerated COVID-19 vaccine development program dubbed “Operation Warp Speed.” The Gathersburg, Md.-based biotech said the funds will be used to complete late-stage clinical development of its vaccine candidate called NVX-CoV2373, including a Phase 3 trial, and to scale up manufacturing.

The company is aiming to deliver 100 million doses of the vaccine, as early as late 2020. The trial will comprise up to 30,000 subjects and will start in the fall.

A Phase 1/2 trial in 130 healthy participants was launched in Australia in May with initial immunogenicity and safety results are expected to be available at the end of July. A Phase 2 trial is expected to start after that.

The Phase 1/2 trial is being supported by up to $388 million in funding from international entity the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, or CEPI, an Oslo-based group. Novavax shares soared 38% premarket on the news. The news sent shares of Novavax up 25%.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.
it received $450 million from the federal government to manufacture and supply its still investigational COVID-19 treatment, as MarketWatch’s Jaimy Lee reported. The agreement is with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and the Department of Defense.

The news comes a day after Regeneron said that the antibody cocktail candidate is being tested in two Phase 2/3 clinical studies as a treatment for COVID-19; the therapy is also in a Phase 3 trial evaluating whether or not it can prevent someone who has been exposed by a close contact from getting infected with the virus.

The company said that if the Food and Drug Administration grants the experimental therapy an emergency use authorization or an approval, “the government has committed to making doses from these lots available to the American people at no cost and would be responsible for their distribution.”

There was a setback for Becton Dickinson & Co.
when the FDA issued an alert about an increased risk of false-positive results for one of the company’s COVID-19 diagnostic tests. In one study, 3% of the results were false positive for the BD Max System test, which received an emergency use authorization from the regulator in April.

“Consider any positive result presumptive from tests using the BD SARS-CoV-2 Reagents for the BD Max System,” the FDA said. “Consider confirming with an alternate authorized test.”

A spokesperson confirmed that BD had received reports of the false-positive results, saying that “the elevated rates represent a small subset of the positive results” and that the company is in discussions with the FDA about the issue. The news comes a day after Becton Dickinson said it would launch a test that can detect the virus within 15 minutes.

Finally, Corvus Pharmaceuticals Inc.
soared 137%, after the company said it has launched an open-label Phase 1 clinical trial testing an experimental monoclonal antibody as a treatment for COVID-19.

The U.S.-based study plans to enroll up to 30 participants with mild to moderate symptoms. The company is also testing this investigational therapy in cancer patients.

“Our B cell activating monoclonal antibody may be a potential immunotherapy for COVID-19 based on its ability to stimulate the production of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies,” CEO Richard Miller said in a news release. The company expects to release data from the study sometime this year.

What are companies saying?

Shake Shack Inc.
warned that its second-quarter sales would miss estimates, hurt by restaurant closures and reduced hours due to the virus, protests and curfews. Dales totaled $91.8 million for the quarter ending June 24, below the FactSet consensus for $101.0 million.

The burger chain said same-restaurant sales sank 49%, compared with a FactSet consensus for a 43.6% decline. Shake Shack is scheduled to announced second-quarter earnings on August 11. Same-restaurant sales are “acutely impacted” by a slow recovery in New York City, one of the company’s most important regions and the early epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S.

New York City accounted for 20% of the company’s sales in the first quarter before the pandemic.

Elsewhere, companies continued to raise capital and to cut costs to combat the impact of falling sales and lost business.

Here’s the latest news about companies and COVID-19:

• With demand for bicycles soaring due to the coronavirus, Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc.
is Bank of America’s “solitary leisure” pick. With consumers shifting their dollars from entertainment like movies and amusement parks, analysts note a 103% year-over-year spike in dollars spent on bicycles in May, based on debit card activity. Despite states beginning to reopen, June sales remain up 68% compared with last year. Bank of America also notes a rise in downloads for the Strava app, which offers GPS tracing to cyclists and runners. Dick’s offers a variety of bike brands and a large percentage of its bikes are priced less than $500.

• Mesa Air Group Inc.’s
block hours, a measure of aircraft utilization, fell 75.8% in June because of reduced schedules during the pandemic. Block hours are counted from the moment an aircraft door closes at departure until the moment the aircraft door opens at the arrival gate on landing. The Phoenix, Az.-based regional airline has partnerships with American Airlines Group Inc.
and United Airlines Holdings Inc.
It said block hours for American Airlines fell 81.9% in June, while hours for United fell 71.2%. Departures for both airlines were down 75.8%.

• Nielsen Holdings PLC
is accelerating a previously announced transformation plan and will exit smaller, underperforming markets and noncore businesses in the second half. The market research and audience measurement company expects to substantially complete the program in 2020 and to generate about $250 million in pretax annual run-rate savings. New York-based Nielsen will cut 3,500 jobs world-wide and expects to book pretax restructuring charges of $150 million to $170 million, up from a prior range of $120 million to $140 million. “As discussed on our earnings call in April, we have increased our focus on platform consolidations, further automation, optimizing our global footprint, and ensuring that our resource allocation aligns with high-margin essential services,” Chief Executive David Kenny said in a statement. “Today’s plan encompasses, accelerates, and expands on those initiatives.” The exits are expected to shave no more than 100 basis points off 2020 revenue growth. The company expects to book $40 million to $50 million of noncash, pretax impairment charges in the second quarter. The company will release second-quarter earnings on Aug. 5.

• Paychex Inc.
estimates for its fiscal fourth quarter, despite the pressure of the pandemic. “In this changing work environment, our human capital management solutions and mobility applications have enabled our clients to function and maintain their businesses while working remotely,” Chief Executive Martin Mucci said in a statement. The company ended the quarter with $1.0 billion in cash and $801.9 million in debt. “We currently anticipate that cash, restricted cash, and total corporate investments as of May 31, 2020, along with projected operating cash flows and available short-term financing, will support our business operations, capital purchases, share repurchases, and dividend payments for the foreseeable future,” said the statement. The company is now expecting fiscal 2021 revenue to fall 2% to 5% and for adjusted EPS to fall 6% to 10%.

• Tripadvisor Inc.
is planning to offer $500 million of new senior notes that mature in 2025, joining the many companies raising capital during the pandemic. Proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes.

Coronavirus in North Korea: What We Know

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‘Hamilton’ and everything else coming to Disney+ in July 2020

“Hamilton” is coming to Disney+ in July, and that’s really all you need to know.

Sure, the Walt Disney Co.

streaming service is also adding a new Muppets series, “Muppets Now” (July 31), and movies like “Solo: A Star Wars Story” (July 10) and “The Mighty Ducks” (July 3), but the one true highlight will be the filmed version of the Broadway smash, starring Lin-Manuel Miranda and the rest of the original cast. “Hamilton” was scheduled to be released in theaters in October 2021, but due to the pandemic, it’ll drop instead on July 3, just in time for Fourth of July celebrations, which are likely to be more indoors this year.

Read more: What’s streaming in July on Netflix | Amazon Prime | Hulu | HBO Max

Here’s what else is on tap:

Coming in July 2020

July 3

Animal ER (Seasons 1-2)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules

Ice Age: Collision Course

Ice Road Rescue (Seasons 1-4)

Race to Witch Mountain (2009)

The Big Green

The Mighty Ducks


Pixar in Real Life, Episode 109, “UP: Balloon Cart Away”

Disney Family Sundays, Episode 135, “Peter Pan: Shadow Box Theater”

One Day at Disney, Episode 131, “Zama Magudulela: The Lion King Madrid, Spain”

It’s a Dog’s Life with Bill Farmer, Episode 108, “Movie Star Dogs & Hounds and Horses”

July 10

Critter Fixers: Country Vets (Season 1)

Gigantosaurus (Season 1)

Secrets of the Zoo (Season 3)

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Disney Family Sundays, Episode 136, “Lilo and Stitch: Family Tree”

One Day at Disney, Episode 132, “Marc Smith: Story Artist”

It’s a Dog’s Life with Bill Farmer, Episode 109

July 17

A Pre-Opening Report from Disneyland

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul

Disney Junior Music Lullabies

Lost City of Machu Picchu

Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! (Seasons 1-2)

The Mousketeers at Walt Disney World

Wild Chile (S1)

Disney Family Sundays, Episode 137, “Moana: Tomato Photo Holder”

One Day at Disney, Episode 133, “Mike Davie: Imagineering Project Manager”

It’s a Dog’s Life with Bill Farmer, Episode 110, “Snake Search Dogs & Hawaiian Conservation Dogs”

July 24

Wild Congo (Season 1)

Wild Sri Lanka (Season 1)

Rogue Trip: All Episodes 101-108

Disney Family Sundays, Episode 138, “Jungle Book: Finger Puppet”

One Day at Disney, Episode 134, “Chris Christi: Helicopter Reporter”

July 31

Alaska Animal Rescue (Season 1)

Animal Showdown (Season 1)

Best Job Ever (Season 1)

Big Cat Games

Cradle of the Gods

Destination World (Season 1)

Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet (Season 8)

Fearless Adventures with Jack Randall (Season 1)

Hidden Kingdoms of China

Hunt for the Abominable Snowman

India’s Wild Leopards

Jungle Animal Rescue (Season 1)

King Fishers (Season 1)

Lost Temple of the Inca

Marvel Funko (Seasons 1-2)

Surviving the Mount St. Helens Disaster

Weirdest, Bestest, Truest (Season 1)

What Sam Sees (Season 1)

Muppets Now, Episode 101, “Due Date”

Disney Family Sundays, Episode 139, “Mickey and Minnie: Pillows”

One Day at Disney, Episode 135, Lauren Cabo, “Imagineering Portfolio Creative Executive”

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European stocks lifted by data, but U.S. holiday keeps a lid on action

European stocks were set to break a four-session win streak on Friday, with upbeat economic data overshadowed by persistent worries about rising virus cases in the U.S. That is as a holiday Stateside was set to keep a lid on trading volumes.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index
dipped 0.1% to 367.89, on the heels of a near 2% gain on Thursday. For the week, the index is poised for a 2.7% gain. Elsewhere, the German DAX 30 index
was flat, while the French CAC 40
and the FTSE 100 indexes
fell 0.4% and 0.3%, respectively. Spain’s IBEX 35
stood out with a 0.7% drop.

China’s June Caixin services purchasing managers index rose to the highest level in more than a decade.

And the euro-area Market Services PMI for June came in at 48.3, jumping from May’s 30.5 and beating a forecast of 47.3. Dramatic gains were seen in Spain, where the services PMI jumped to 50.2 from 27.9. The eurozone June Composite PMI was 48.5, from 31.9 in May.

U.S. markets will be closed on Friday for the Independence Day holiday, keeping volumes pinned down in Europe. U.S. stock futures were barely higher, outside of a 0.2% gain for Nasdaq-100 futures
after a record finish for technology stocks, though with more modest gains for the Dow
and S&P 500
on Thursday.

Despite news that the U.S. economy added back 4.8 million jobs in June, an alarming rise in coronavirus infections across 40 of 50 U.S. states — with the bulk in Florida — continues to worry investors. Another blow was dealt on Thursday with reports that final-stage trials of a Moderna
coronavirus candidate were being delayed.

Also drawing attention, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview on with JAMA Network on Thursday that the virus may be mutating to become more transmissible, with high viral loads.

“We don’t have a connection between whether an individual does worse with this or not. It just seems that the virus replicates better and may be more transmissible. But this is still at the stage of trying to confirm that,” he said.

U.S. stock futures were barely higher, outside of a 0.2% gain for Nasdaq-100 futures, after modest gains for those markets on Thursday.

Among stocks on the move, shares of Delivery Hero
jumped nearly 5% on a positive trading update. The delivery platform said orders numbers for the group in the second quarter jumped 94% from a year ago. Final numbers will be released on July 28.

Shares of Land Securities Group
rose 2.5% after the commercial-property developer and investment company said rental collection and footfall improved in June, and that it plans to restart paying dividends from November.

Banks were on the losing side, with BNP Paribas
fell 1% and Banco Santander
shares fell 1.9%.

Energy names were also lower as oil prices
fell about 1%. Shares of BP
and Royal Dutch Shell
stock fell 1.4% each.

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