Stocks slide amid stimulus doubts, rising jobless claims

Stocks opened with losses Thursday after a rise in weekly unemployment claims and a narrowing window to pass a stimulus deal before Election Day shook markets.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened with a loss of nearly 320 points, falling 1.1 percent after the opening bell. The S&P 500 opened with a loss of nearly 1.3 percent and the Nasdaq composite fell roughly 1.6 percent as trading began.

Thursday’s opening slump put the stock market on track for its third straight day of losses, driven primarily by fears that the Trump administration and Congress may be unable to strike a deal to boost the ailing economy before Nov. 3. 

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Initial jobless claims for the week ending Oct. 10 spiked to 898,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday, along with 373,000 applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for contractors, gig workers and others left out of the traditional aid program.

More than 25 million Americans are on some form of jobless aid, according to the Labor Department, and millions are struggling to get by after the July 31 expiration of a $600 boost to weekly jobless benefits that was passed through the $2.2 trillion CARES Act in March.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Nancy PelosiOn The Money: Mnuchin says COVID-19 relief before election ‘would be difficult’ | Gender employment gap widens with start of virtual school year | Warren rips Disney over layoffs, executive pay Videos show conservative activists discussing limiting mail-in voting: report Michigan Republican isolating after positive coronavirus test MORE (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Mnuchin says COVID-19 relief before election ‘would be difficult’ | Gender employment gap widens with start of virtual school year | Warren rips Disney over layoffs, executive pay Owners of meatpacker JBS to pay 0M fine over foreign bribery charges Mnuchin says COVID-19 relief before election ‘would be difficult’ MORE have spent more than two weeks in negotiations toward a follow-up to that package, but have yet to make a deal. The prospects for a breakthrough have been complicated by differences between Trump, who has urged lawmakers to “go big,” and Senate Republicans, who have bristled at passing the administration’s initial $1.8 trillion over concerns about the debt.

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