July 9, 2020 / 8:03 PM / a month ago

US STOCKS-Dow, S&P 500 end lower on fears over surging virus cases but Nasdaq hits record high

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* Weekly jobless claims rise less than expected

* Walgreens drops after swinging to quarterly loss (Updates to close)

By Caroline Valetkevitch

July 9 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and Dow dropped on Thursday as investors worried about another round of business shutdowns to contain a surge in coronavirus cases and began to shift their focus to earnings, though the Nasdaq registered another record closing high.

The United States saw more than 60,000 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, setting a single-day global record while Florida and Texas reported a record one-day increase in deaths.

Investors also began to turn their focus to the second-quarter earnings season, which shifts into higher gear next week. S&P 500 companies are expected to post the biggest quarterly decline in earnings since the financial crisis, based on IBES data from Refinitiv.

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc tumbled 8.2% after it reported a quarterly loss compared with a profit a year earlier, hurt by non-cash impairment charges of $2 billion as COVID-19 disrupted business at its Boots UK division.

“I expect a lot of confusing numbers and guidance. COVID is certainly not behind us in any way shape or form, so maybe the V gets elongated some,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Nasdaq hit another record high, however, helped by gains in Amazon.com, Microsoft Corp and Apple Inc .

Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 360.64 points, or 1.38%, to 25,706.64, the S&P 500 lost 17.74 points, or 0.56%, to 3,152.2 and the Nasdaq Composite added 55.25 points, or 0.53%, to 10,547.75.

Helping stocks early in the day was data showing the number of Americans filing for jobless benefits dropped to a near four-month low last week, but a record 32.9 million people were collecting unemployment checks in the third week of June.

A batch of upbeat economic data including the record pace of job additions in June has underscored that the stimulus-fueled domestic economy was on the path to recovery.

The benchmark S&P 500 has risen more than 40% from its March closing lows.

In a bullish signal for near-term momentum, the benchmark S&P 500’s chart formed a “golden cross” pattern, in which its 50-day moving average vaulted above the 200-day moving average. (Additional reporting by Medha Singh and C Nivedita in Bengaluru; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Maju Samuel)

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