Dow's 6-day winning streak ends as stocks close lower on light holiday volume

Initial jobless claims fell to 198,000 last week

U.S. stocks fell Thursday despite better-than-expected jobless claims and manufacturing data. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended its six-day winning streak, falling 90.55 points, or 0.25%, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite declined 0.30% and 0.16%, respectively.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 34715.39 -313.26 -0.89%
SP500 S&P 500 4482.73 -50.03 -1.10%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 14154.020372 -186.23 -1.30%

Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, McDonald's and Nike accounted for half of the Dow's losses Thursday.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
MSFT MICROSOFT CORP. 301.60 -1.73 -0.57%
PG PROCTER & GAMBLE CO. 162.00 0.00 0.00%
MCD MCDONALD'S CORP. 253.13 -2.09 -0.82%
NKE NIKE INC. 142.73 -2.38 -1.64%

Oil is trading around the $76 per barrel mark.

STOCK FUTURES TRADE HIGHER AFTER JOBLESS CLAIMS DATA

On the economic data front, applications for initial jobless claims for the week ending Dec. 25 totaled 198,000, down from a revised 206,000 the prior week, according to Labor Department data released Thursday. Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting 208,000 total claims.

Continuing claims, which track the total number of unemployed workers collecting benefits, fell to 1.716 million, a decline from the prior week.

Midwest manufacturing activity also expanded quicker than anticipated after the Institute for Supply Management's Chicago Purchasing Managers’ index came in at a reading of 63.1 for December. A reading of 50 is the dividing line between an expanding and contracting manufacturing sector.

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The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield fell from a five-week high on Thursday to 1.514%.

In stocks, shares of Biogen fell more than 7% after Samsung denied a Korea Economic Daily report that it was in talks to buy the biotechnology giant and Micron Technology finished down 2% after the semiconductor giant warned of production delays due to COVID-19 induced shutdowns in Xi'an, China.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
BIIB BIOGEN INC. 225.91 -4.90 -2.12%
MU MICRON TECHNOLOGY INC. 85.07 -4.93 -5.48%

Shares of Virgin Galactic finished up 6% after its satellite-launching sister company Virgin Orbit made its Nasdaq debut through an approved SPAC merger with NextGen Acquisition Corp II. Virgin Orbit, which trades under the ticker symbol VORB, fell as much as 8% Thursday but reversed the majority of its losses by the end of the session. Meanwhile, its warrants, which trade under the symbol VORBW, plunged approximately 12%. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
PCE n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.
VORB NEXTGEN ACQUISITION II 8.96 +0.07 +0.79%
VORBW VIRGIN ORBIT HOLDINGS INC C/WTS (TO PUR COM) 1.31 +0.07 +5.65%

Overseas, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.4%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.1% and China's Shanghai Composite jumped 0.6%.

In Europe, London's FTSE declined 0.2% while Germany's DAX increased 0.2% and the Euro Stoxx 50 climbed 0.5%.

On Friday, U.S. equity markets will trade on a regular schedule while the bond market will have a shortened trading session, closing at 2 p.m. ET.