US Stocks Mixed in Early Trade

(AP) -- Stocks are mixed in early trading on Wall Street Thursday as the market takes a pause following its longest winning streak in nearly four months.

The S&P 500 was down 0.1%, putting its four-day winning streak under threat. A report showed that the number of U.S. workers filing for unemployment benefits eased for a ninth straight week, but economists saw pockets of disappointment after the total number of people getting benefits rose slightly. That number had dropped the prior week, which had raised hopes that some companies were rehiring workers.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 5 points at 26,264, as of 9:57 a.m. Eastern time, and the Nasdaq composite was up 0.2%.

Many professional investors have been arguing that the stock market's rally, which reached nearly 40% between late March and Wednesday, was overdone and that a pullback was likely coming. Stocks began surging following massive aid for the economy from Washington. More recently, they've climbed on optimism that the recession created by the reaction to the coronavirus outbreak could end relatively quickly as states and countries lift lockdown restrictions.

Critics said stocks were rising much more quickly than expectations for corporate profits and other measures of financial health. They also pointed to risks in rising U.S.-China tensions and the possibility of second waves of coronavirus infections.

Longer-term Treasury yields were rising Thursday. That area of the market had been one of the first to warn of the coming economic devastation from the coronavirus outbreak, and it's been much more circumspect in recent weeks than the U.S. stock market.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 0.81% from 0.76% late Wednesday. It tends to move with investors' expectations for inflation and the economy's strength.

Energy stocks in the S&P 500 fell 1.5% for the largest loss among the 11 sectors that make up the index. Exxon Mobil fell 1.7%, and Chevron lost 1.5%.

Among the day's winners was Charles Schwab, which rose 0.8% after it said antitrust regulators won't block its acquisition of TD Ameritrade. The companies expect the deal to close in the second half of this year.

European stocks were weaker after the European Central Bank said it expects the region's economy to shrink 8.7% this year due to the pandemic. It also announced it was nearly doubling its rescue program to help the economy.

The French CAC 40 was down 0.4%, Germany's DAX lost 0.7% and the FTSE 100 in London dropped 0.7%.

Asian stocks were slightly stronger. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.4%, South Korea's Kospi added 0.2% and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong picked up 0.2%.

A barrel of U.S. crude oil for delivery in July fell 1.4% to $36.77 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 0.7% to $39.51 per barrel.