Stocks were lower in early trading Thursday, continuing a minor pullback from earlier in the week when the market hit record highs. Commodities were getting hit hard as prices for basic materials fell sharply.
The S&P 500 index lost 0.2% as of 9:50 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2% and the Nasdaq composite was down 0.4%.
Commodities fell, with everything from oil to agricultural commodities to metals moving broadly lower. Copper prices were down nearly 2%, while oil was down nearly 3%. The drop in commodities prices was dragging down oil companies and those who extract raw materials for industrial uses. Miner Freeport-McMoRan, Devon Energy and Occidental Petroleum fell 3% or more.
The volatility in the commodities markets is notable because investors have been acutely focused on inflation as the global economy emerges from the pandemic. Earlier this year prices for basic materials like lumber and copper and gasoline were all rising steadily and several high multi-year highs. Most of those gains have now been erased with declines in recent weeks.
Investors got a bit of positive economic news when the Labor Department reported another weekly drop in the number of Americans filing for . Claims fell 29,000 to 348,000 last week, a pandemic low. The four-week average fell 19,000 to just below 378,000, also a pandemic low.
While stocks are now down roughly 1.5% this week, fund managers do not expect much volatility this month as investors will have little data to work with and earnings season is now mostly over. August also tends to be a popular month for investors to take their vacations, so trading is typically slower. September tends to be a much more volatile month once Wall Street is back to work.
Government bond yields fell. The 10-year Treasury note traded at a yield of 1.24%, down from 1.27% the day before.
sank more than 9% as traders worried that the booming growth at the popular online brokerage app could slow down. rose 6% after issuing a strong forecast.