Investors will be watching for a report on weekly U.S. jobless claims to gauge whether the worst of the impact of the viral outbreak has occurred, while a policy decision from the European Central Bank later in the morning could influence trading in U.S. assets.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were 137 points, or 0.5%, lower at 26,091, those for the S&P 500 index were off 16.45 points, or 0.5%, at 3,101.25, while Nasdaq-100 futures were trading 0.2% lower at 9,663.75, a decline of 21 points.
On Wednesday, the Dow advanced 527.24 points, or 2.1%, to close at 26,269.89, while the S&P 500 rose 42.05 points, or 1.4%, to end at 3,112.87, the highest finish for both benchmarks since March 4, according to Dow Jones Market Data. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 74.54 points, or 0.8%, ending at 9,682.91, or 1.4% away from its all-time closing high of 9,817.18 in February.
At least 1.8 million jobless workers are expected to have applied for unemployment benefits in the week ended May 30, according to economists polled by MarketWatch. That grim data however could underscore that the U.S. may be bottoming from the impact of the epidemic that has rocked the U.S. economy. The report is expected to be released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern.
Private-sector employment data on Wednesday showed that a total of 2.76 million jobs were lost in May, Automatic Data Processing Inc. reported, but that loss was far less severe than the 8.66 million estimated by Econoday.
Equity benchmarks in the U.S. have rallied mightily from their March 23 lows, partly on the back of optimism surrounding the reopening efforts and evidence of a slowing spread of the deadly infection as the summer gets under way.
Trillions of dollars in stimulus from the Federal Reserve and the U.S. government, underpinning financial markets, also have helped to drive the value of assets considered risky sharply higher from their coronavirus nadirs.
Meanwhile, investors will be watching to see if Europe’s central bank delivers further stimulus to its battered economy. Led by Christine Lagarde, the ECB is expected to announce its intention to expand its €750 billion ($840 billion) Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program, or risk disappointing the market. Analysts expect that to happen when the Governing Council concludes its meeting on Thursday at 7:45 a.m. Eastern. Lagarde will host a news conference at 8:30 a.m. Eastern to discuss the ECB’s policy actions.
Oil prices were under pressure Thursday amid uncertainties over a OPEC meeting, with West Texas Intermediate crude for July delivery off 57 cents, or 1.5%, to at $36.72 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Dow futures pull back as investors await jobless claims report, ECB decision, CNBC, Jun 4