The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 350 points Thursday amid the Labor Department’s jobless claims numbers and other key economic data. On deck, the Labor Department’s pivotal jobs report is due out Friday morning.
First-time jobless claims held steady at 217,000, below estimates that called for a rise to 222,000. Meanwhile, the U.S. Services Purchasing Managers’ Index, or PMI, measured 47.8, above estimates for a 46.6 reading. Lastly, the ISM services index that measures non-manufacturing services activity fell to 54.4, below estimates of 55.4.
Friday’s Labor Department jobs report is expected to show that the U.S. economy added 210,000 jobs in the month of October, down from September’s 263,000 jobs added.
Key earnings movers Thursday were Albemarle (ALB), APA (APA), IBD Leaderboard stock Cheniere Energy (LNG), CF Industries (CF) and ConocoPhillips (COP). Others on the move included Etsy (ETSY), Fortinet (FTNT), Qualcomm (QCOM), Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN), Roku (ROKU) and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
Albemarle shares declined 5% in early morning trade, while APA stock slipped around 2%. Cheniere dropped 4%, as CF Industries fell 3%. Conoco moved up 3%, while Etsy stock jumped 6% and Fortinet tumbled 19%. Qualcomm dived 7%, and REGN stock dipped 3% in early trade. ROKU stock plunged almost 16%, as WWE stock moved slightly lower.
Among the top stocks to buy and watch are Dycom (DY), IBD SwingTrader stock Dollar General (DG) and Pure Storage (PSTG) — as well as Dow Jones stocks Chevron (CVX) and UnitedHealth (UNH). Keep in mind that the now-struggling stock market rally is a reason for investors to play more defense.
Dollar General is an IBD SwingTrader stock. Pure Storage was featured in this week’s Stocks Near A Buy Zone column, along with three other top stock ideas. Pure Storage was also an IBD Stock Of The Day on Friday.
Dow Jones Today: Treasury Yields, Oil Prices
After Thursday’s opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.1%, while the S&P 500 futures moved down 1.3%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite sold off 1.4% in morning action.
The 10-year Treasury yield jumped to 4.19% Thursday morning. Meanwhile, U.S. oil prices traded down more than 1%, set to snap a two-day win streak. West Texas Intermediate futures are riding support at their 50-day moving average, trading above $88 a barrel.
Stock Market Rally Struggles
On Thursday, the stock market dived in the wake of Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s hawkish comments. The Dow Jones Industrial Average sold off 1.55%, while the S&P 500 declined 2.5%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite plunged 3.4%.
Wednesday’s The Big Picture cautioned, “As seen in the accompanying Market Pulse, the actual number of distribution days, or bouts of pronounced selling, remains low. But at 10,524, the Nasdaq effectively gutted all of its mild gains since a follow-through day took place on Oct. 21.”
Now is an important time to read IBD’s The Big Picture column. Following recent selling, investors should be more focused on playing defense than buying breakouts.
Dow Jones Stocks To Buy And Watch: Merck, UnitedHealth
Health care giant UnitedHealth is trying to break out past a cup with handle’s 553.23 buy point, according to IBD MarketSmith. Shares declined 0.7% Wednesday, falling further below their latest entry. UNH stock traded a fraction lower Thursday morning.
Top Stocks To Watch: Dollar General, Dycom, Pure Storage
Dollar General fell further below a 259.75 buy point in a cup base, as DG shares lost 1.75% Wednesday to fall for a third straight day. If the stock retakes this critical level, the 5% chase zone will go up to 272.74. DG shares were down 0.8% early Thursday.
Dycom is trying to break out past a cup base’s 120.55 buy point. Shares slid 3.3% Wednesday, once again falling back under the buy point. If the stock is able to regain the entry, the 5% buy zone that goes up to 126.58. Dycom shares were down 1.2% Thursday,
Friday’s IBD Stock Of The Day, Pure Storage, broke out Tuesday past a 31.62 buy point, but gave up that entry during Wednesday’s 2.4% decline. The stock was off 1.5% Thursday.
Tesla stock skidded 5.6% Wednesday, giving up the bulk of its recent gains and heading back towards its recent lows. Shares are about 48% off their 52-week high and sharply below their 50- and 200-day moving average lines.
Shares of the EV giant moved down 1% Thursday morning.
Dow Jones Leaders: Apple, Microsoft
Among Dow Jones stocks, Apple shares sold off 3.7% Wednesday, falling sharply for a third straight day. Now, shares are back below their 50-day line. Apple stock traded down 1.7% Thursday.
Microsoft fell 3.5% Wednesday, closing just off its 52-week low price. The software giant is about 37% off its 52-week high. Microsoft shares lost 0.3% Thursday morning.
Be sure to follow Scott Lehtonen on Twitter at @IBD_SLehtonen for more on growth stocks and the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
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