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S&P 500 closes down, snapping four-day rally

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(Reuters) - The S&P 500 lost ground on Thursday as investors took profits in advance of Friday’s jobs report, ending a four-day rally driven by rising economic sentiment.

The Nasdaq joined the S&P 500 in negative territory, while the blue-chip Dow posted a nominal gain.

“We were pretty overvalued going into this week,” said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer, Independent Advisor Alliance, Charlotte, NC. “It’s not surprising to see a pullback.”

The market has shown remarkable resilience since its late March plunge, and the Nasdaq, S&P 500 and Dow remain within 3%, 9% and 12% of their respective record highs reached in February.

“This market has gone up so far so fast there’s a lot of people saying, ‘I’m going to take a little profit,’” said Jim Paulson, chief investment strategist at The Leuthold Group in Minneapolis.

Economic data showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits dipped below 2 million for the first time since mid-March, and plummeting international commerce resulted in a net widening of the U.S. trade gap.

Friday’s much-anticipated jobs report from the Labor Department is expected to show the U.S. unemployment rate sky-rocketing to a historic 19.7%.

Violent protests overnight against the death of George Floyd appeared to abate as prosecutors brought new charges against the officers implicated in the killing.

The European Central Bank approved a stimulus package that surpassed expectations, nearly doubling the size of its Pandemic Emergency Purchase Plan to 1.35 trillion Euros.

Its American counterpart, the U.S. Federal Reserve, is due to meet next week for its two-day policy meeting.

Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.04% to end at 26,281.61 points, while the S&P 500 lost 0.34% to 3,112.33. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.69%, to 9,615.81.

American Airlines Group Inc announced it would beef up its flight schedule in July to 55% of its year-ago capacity as the U.S. economy reopens, sending its shares soaring.

The hard-hit ARCA Airline index also jumped on the news.

Global online commerce platform EBay Inc advanced after raising current quarter forecasts due to a surge in customer orders.

The Department of Justice gave anti-trust approval for Charles Schwab Corp’s purchase of TD Ameritrade Holding Corp.

Shares of J.M. Smucker Co fell after the packaged food company forecast a decline in full-year sales.

Reporting by Stephen Culp; additonal reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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