U.S. stock-futures pointed to muted moves on Thursday as investors await a weekly report on the labor market in the U.S. and contend with signs of rising cases and hospitalizations of COVID-19 in more states.
How are benchmarks faring?
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YM00, -0.69% YMM20, -0.67% were trading 87 points, or 0.3%, lower at 25,940, those for the S&P 500 index ES00, -0.65% ESM20, -0.64% were off 10.35 points, or 0.3%, at 3,096.50, while Nasdaq-100 futures NQ00, -0.28% NQM20, -0.27% were shedding 9 points to 9,974, a decline of 0.1%.
On Wednesday, the Dow DJIA, -0.64% shed 170.37 points, or 0.7%, to end at 26,119.61. The S&P 500 SPX, -0.36% fell 11.25 points, finishing at 3,113.49, or 0.4% lower. The Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.14% gained 14.66 points, or 0.2%, closing at 9,910.53.
What’s driving the market?
Markets moderated sharper losses overnight as Beijing, which has seen a resurgence of coronavirus cases, declared its latest outbreak under control, according to Wu Zunyou, the chief epidemiologist of China’s Center for Diseases Prevention and Control.
“When I say that it is under control, that doesn’t mean the number of cases will turn zero tomorrow or the day after,” according to a translation by Reuters.
In the U.S., new cases and hospitalizations continue to be a source of anxiety for market participants, with a number of states, including Texas, Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma reporting growing infections. A tally by Reuters showed 259 new cases over the previous day in Oklahoma, with President Donald Trump set to hold a campaign rally in Tulsa over the weekend. Meanwhile, Florida reported more than 2,600 new cases and Arizona more than 1,800.
“We’re very close to a vaccine and we’re very close to therapeutics, really good therapeutics,” Trump said Wednesday night in a television interview with Fox News. He also repeated an assertion that the virus would “fade away” even without remedies.
A number of markets continue to push ahead with reopening plans. New York City is expected to enter Phase 2 of its business restart efforts, which includes opening of retail shops, outdoor dining and hair salons.
Investors will also watch the pace of U.S. new job benefit claims and unemployment payments benefits on Thursday. Weekly data from the Labor Department is expected to show that more than 1.3 million new applications for unemployment benefits were filed in mid-June to push the total during the coronavirus pandemic above 48 million.
Economists will be looking for signs that so-called continuing jobless claims have tapered off since peaking in the middle of May, as states restart business activities after nationwide lockdowns.
A larger-than-expected decline in new claims would suggest net employment rose sharply in June, likely surpassing the 2.7 million increase in May, which could boost bullish sentiment on Wall Street.
The report will be released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.
In Europe, the Bank of England left interest rates unchanged at 0.1%, as expected, and increased its bond buying by £100 billion, or $125 billion, after May inflation was the weakest in nearly four years amid the pandemic. The move takes its asset purchases to £745 billion.
Looking ahead, market participants are also watching for a report on manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia area, the Philly Fed business outlook survey, which is released at the same time as claims.
Separately, investors are expecting a parade of Fed speakers: Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari will speak at 11 a.m., Loretta Mester, the president of the Cleveland Fed, speaks at 12:15 p.m., St. Louis Fed President James Bullard speaks at 2 p.m., while San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly is scheduled to speak at 7 p.m. Mester and Kashkari are voting members of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee this year.
Which stocks are in focus?
- Shares of Carnival Corp. CUK, -7.30% CCL, -6.51% dropped in premarket trading Thursday, after the cruise operator reported a wider-than-expected fiscal second-quarter loss and revenue that fell more than forecast, but said it was seeing growing demand from new booking for next year.
- Shares of Wirecard WDI, -55.72% was in focus after the European company said Ernst & Young told it that no sufficient audit evidence could be obtained so far of cash balances on trust accounts of 1.9 billion euros, or approximately a quarter of the balance sheet.
How are other assets performing?
West Texas Intermediate U.S. crude CLN20, +0.44% rose Thursday, gaining 29 cents, or 0.3%, to trade at $38.26 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The greenback edge back 0.1% to 97.098, as gauged by the ICE U.S. Dollar index DXY, +0.01%.
In bullion trading, August gold GCM20, -0.56% on Comex retreated $5.20, or 0.3%, to trade at $1,730.40 an ounce.
The 10-year Treasury note yield TMUBMUSD10Y, 0.706% fell 2.5 basis points to 0.71%. Bond prices move in the opposite direction of yields.
In Asia markets, China’s benchmark CSI 300 index 000300, +0.66% closed 0.7% higher, while the Shanghai Composite Index SHCOMP, +0.11% edged up 0.1%, and the Japanese Nikkei NIK, -0.44% shed 0.5% in Asia trade on Thursday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng HSI, -0.06% ticked down 0.1% and South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.4%.