The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a record high on Thursday (May 6), bolstered by an upbeat weekly jobless claims report, while shares of vaccine makers dipped after U.S. President Joe Biden backed plans to waive patents on COVID-19 shots.
Lifted by Apple Inc, the S&P 500 rose after a Labor Department report showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits totaled a seasonally adjusted 498,000 for the week ended May 1, compared with 590,000 in the prior week.
Investors were awaiting a more comprehensive non-farm payrolls report on Friday for clues on the strength of the labor market and potentially the U.S. Federal Reserve’s stance on monetary policy.
Pharmaceutical companies dropped after the White House said Biden made the decision to back a proposed waiver for COVID-19 vaccine intellectual property rights.
Shares in Pfizer Inc, Moderna Inc and Novavax Inc, all involved in the making of COVID-19 vaccines, fell. Johnson & Johnson was near unchanged.
The S&P 500 healthcare sector index slipped, while the Nasdaq biotechnology index also dropped.
Moderna’s shares cut some losses after it said countries around the globe would continue buying its COVID-19 vaccine for years even if patents on the shots are waived.
The S&P 500 financials index was among the top performers.
Microsoft Corp, Apple and Amazon.com Inc were up under 1% for most of the session.
Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.92% to end at 34,545.11 points, while the S&P 500 gained 0.82% to 4,201.58.
The Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.37% to 13,632.84.
(Production: Hyeongmi Kim, Fred Katayama, Soren Larson)