Market Snapshot: Dow futures climb 160 points ahead of another dismal jobless claims, and a parade of Fed speakers, earnings

Market Snapshot


U.S. stock-index futures were trading solidly higher early Thursday, as investors prepared for another sobering weekly jobless claims and a host of speakers on the Federal Reserve that might offer more insights about the state of a rapidly deteriorating economy due to national procedures in place to avert a deeper crisis from the COVID-19 pandemic.

How are markets faring?

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average

were up 162 points, or 0.7%, at 23,675, those for the S&P 500 index

were up 20.60 points, or 0.7%, at 2,854, while Nasdaq-100 futures

were gaining 74.25 points, or 0.8%, at 9,026.25.

On Wednesday, the Dow

fell 218.45 points, or 0.9%, to finish at 23,664.64. The S&P 500

shed 20.02 points, or 0.7%, to end at 2,848.42, with declines for those benchmarks coming in the last hour of trade. The Nasdaq Composite
meanwhile, climbed 45.27 points, or 0.5%, to close at 8,854.39, only 1.3% off for the year to date.

What’s driving the market?

Markets have struggled during the homestretch of regular trade on Wall Street in recent days as investors fight to identify a catalyst to drive stocks to further gains against a backdrop of history-setting economic pain playing out. However, technology-related shares continue to lead the way as investors bet that those companies will fare better during and in the aftermath of the worst public-health disaster in more than a 100 years.

Thursday’s report on those seeking unemployment benefits is likely to show that more than 3 million Americans are out of work, adding to the already 30 million figure that has been racked up over the past six or seven weeks.

That 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time report comes a day after payroll processor Automatic Data Processing Inc.

reported a 20.2 million decline in employment in April among the nation’s privately run companies.

On Friday, the more closely followed nonfarm-payrolls report from the Labor Department will offer another look at the labor-market picture, which could reveal that the unemployment rate up to 15% from a 50-year low of only 3.5% two months ago.

In addition to claims, investors will watch for a reading of productivity and costs at the same time as the jobless numbers, while the latest update on the Federal Reserve’s rapidly growing balance sheet will be issued at 4:30 p.m.

Last week, The Fed’s balance sheet expanded to a record $6.7 trillion in the period ended April 29, up from $6.62 trillion in the prior week, as the central bank delivered historic stimulus to markets recovering from seizing up at the apex of the coronavirus crisis.

In Fed speakers, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic is set to talk at 8:30 a.m., Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari will speak at 12 p.m. and Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker is set at 4 p.m.

Which stocks were in focus?
  • Shares of Peloton Interactive

    are likely to surge in Thursday regular trade after the exercise-equipment maker reported that quarterly sales hit $524.6 million, up 66% from the year before, thanks to a surge in sales for folks under stay-at-home policies.

  • Shares of Grubhub Inc.

    will be watched after the company missed earnings expectations and didn’t issue revenue guidance amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Costco Wholesale Corp.

    said late Wednesday that its April sales fell 1.8% as skyrocketing e-commerce sales didn’t make up for a drop in foot traffic at its store.

  • Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc.
    Raytheon Technologies Corp.
  • Monster Beverage Corp.
    Live Nation Entertainment Inc.
    Marathon Oil Corp

    and Apache Corp.
    Virtu Financial
    Moderna Inc.
    and JetBlue Airways Corp.

    are some of the companies expected to report Thursday.

  • Tesla Inc.

    is preparing to resume some car production at its Fremont, Calif., factory within the next week, potentially in violation of local coronavirus rules, the San Francisco Chronicle reported late Wednesday.

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