(For a live blog on the U.S. stock market, click or type LIVE/ in a news window.)
* Disney slips as theme parks reopening delayed
* Boeing declines after Berenberg downgrade
* Indexes up: Dow 0.20%, S&P 0.18%, Nasdaq 0.30% (Updates to early afternoon)
By Medha Singh and Devik Jain
June 25 (Reuters) - Wall Street’s main indexes edged higher in choppy trading on Thursday, as gains in financial and energy shares helped recoup early losses due to an alarming rise in new coronavirus cases and elevated jobless claims.
The S&P 500 banks sub-index rose 2.4% as U.S. banking regulators unveiled a pair of rules that will make life easier for large banks with complex trading and investment portfolios.
The broader market sentiment, however, remained negative as the number of new cases in U.S. states, especially in the West and South, kept climbing even as coronavirus hospitalizations in New York declined.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said he was halting his state’s phased economic reopening in response to a jump in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.
The flare up in cases has threatened to halt a Wall Street rally that was powered by a raft of global stimulus since late March.
After coming within 5% of its record high in early June, the benchmark S&P 500 has lost nearly 6% in the past two weeks and analysts cautioned further declines amid worsening economic forecasts.
“It appears that the market may have entered into a new stage of needing direction. It doesn’t seem that the worries over a virus resurgence are enough to truly start forming a down leg of a W-shaped recovery,” said J.J. Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade in Chicago.
All the three major indexes opened lower as data showed the number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits fell less than expected last week likely as hiring by reopening businesses is being partly offset by a second wave of layoffs.
At 12:58 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 51.48 points, or 0.20%, at 25,497.42, the S&P 500 was up 5.43 points, or 0.18%, at 3,055.76. The Nasdaq Composite was up 29.98 points, or 0.30%, at 9,939.14.
Wall Street’s fear gauge, the CBOE volatility index, was trading flat after rising earlier in the session.
The energy sub-sector gained about 0.9%, as oil prices recovered.
Walt Disney Co fell 1.9% after it delayed the reopening of theme parks due to the health crisis. A report also said the company was considering postponing the July 24 release of “Mulan”.
Boeing Co tumbled 2.4% as rival Airbus reached a crucial jetliner production target and smoothed recent industrial problems.
The Federal Reserve will release results of the lenders’ stress tests after the markets close.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.05-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.34-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded four new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 53 new highs and eight new lows. (Reporting by Medha Singh and Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Arun Koyyur)