Nike Swings Loss, Bank Stocks Lead the Market

Jordan Kron

The stock market bounced back slightly on Thursday despite mixed economic data and a surge of new coronavirus cases this week.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported that roughly 1.5 million people filed for initial unemployment claims last week, a drop of about 60,000 from the previous week, according to data released on Thursday. The number of people receiving benefits was less than 20 million -- down from its peak of nearly 25 million in early May.

Rallying on a high note, 10 out of the 11 stock market sectors in the S&P 500 finished higher Thursday. It was financials that led the pack, with a 2.71% gain.

Some positive gains: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained close to 300 points, or 1.2%, to finish the day at 25,745.

Postmortem aid. More than a million federal stimulus checks were sent to dead people, according to the Government Accountability Office. In total, $1.4 billion in aid found its way to deceased individuals.

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Deregulation sparks jump in bank stocks. Shares of Big Bank stocks jumped on the news that the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission and other financial regulators will soon ease restrictions set in place after the financial crisis, allowing banks to increase investments in venture capital funds and freeing up billions of dollars once set aside for derivatives trades.

JPMorgan Chase ( JPM), Bank of America ( BAC) and Citigroup ( C) finished the day up on a high note, up more than 3% each.

A rough day for retail. Department store chain Macy's ( M) cut around 3,900 corporate and management jobs -- a roughly 3% reduction to its workforce -- following a drop in profits in the recent quarter as stores shuttered amid the pandemic. This restructuring will reportedly save the company around $365 million in fiscal 2020.

Following the announcement, the stock ended the day down 4%. Macy's has plummeted about 60% year to date.

Shares of fellow department stores Nordstrom ( JWN) and Kohl's ( KSS) followed suit Thursday, as shares fell 3.8% and 3.5%, respectively. Gap ( GPS) and Ross Stores ( ROST) also finished the day at a roughly 2.5% loss.

Swoosh. Nike ( NKE) dropped in early after-hours trading after a disappointing earnings announcement. The company reported fourth-quarter revenue of $6.3 billion, down 38% year over year. Sales in North America fell by 46% as stores were temporarily closed due to the pandemic, although digital sales soared 75%.

Nike also announced that around 90% of stores across the globe have been able to reopen.

Jordan Kron is an investing editor at U.S. News & World Report, where he edits stock market stories and helps to produce the company's daily Invested newsletter.

Prior to joining U.S. News, Jordan spent three years at financial publisher Stansberry Research in Baltimore working on the editorial team as a proofreader and assistant editor.

He graduated from the University of Maryland in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in English.