Market Snapshot: Stock futures look to U.S. weekly jobless claims for direction

Market Snapshot


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U.S. stock-index futures traded near unchanged Thursday as investors await data that’s expected to show the pace of job losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have slowed but still likely added millions to the unemployment rolls last week.

Stocks suffered a selloff Wednesday, with analysts citing worried over the scope for a strong economic recovery from the pandemic after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned the rebound might not be swift.

What are major indexes doing?

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average
YM00,
-0.43%

fell 30 points, or 0.1%, to 23,136, while S&P 500 futures
ES00,
-0.35%

were off 0.1 point at 2,813. Nasdaq-100 futures
NQ00,
-0.28%

rose 10.5 points, or 0.1%, to 9,002.75.

The Dow on Wednesday
DJIA,
-2.17%

slumped 516.81 points, or 2.2%, to finish at 23,247.97, wile the S&P 500
SPX,
-1.74%

gave up 50.12 points, or 1.8%, to close at 2,820. The Nasdaq Composite
COMP,
-1.54%

slumped 139.38 points, or 1.6%, ending at 8,863.17.

What’s driving the market?

Analysts said stocks have stalled on growing concerns that historic stimulus efforts by central banks and governments won’t be enough to ensure a rapid, or V-shaped, rebound from the economic hit by putting major economies in a virtual deep freeze in an effort to contain the pandemic.

See:COVID-19 case tally: 4.36 million cases, 297,465 deaths

Soaring unemployment around the world and a wave of bankruptcies are accompanied by a lack of certainty about when things will “go back to normal” and whether there will be a second wave of infections as economies attempt to rebound, said Fawad Razaqzada, market analyst at Think Markets, in a note.

“So, while central banks and governments are doing all they can to address the supply side of the economy, demand from households and businesses could nonetheless remain soft for a long time and undermine economic recovery,” he said.

Powell on Wednesday urged lawmakers and the White House to boost spending to help make sure that earlier efforts to bolster the economy in the face of the pandemic would bear fruit. The Fed chief warned that the recovery “could come more slowly than they would like” and would require policy makers to do more.

Read:There is a growing sense recovery will be slow, Powell says

The highlight on the U.S. economic calendar remains the weekly jobless claims figures, which are due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern. First-time claims are expected to increase by 2.7 million in the week ended May 9, according to economists polled by MarketWatch. The number of applications for unemployment compensation peaked at a seasonally adjusted 6.9 million in late March and has fallen steadily over the past month.

Which companies are in focus?
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