Market Snapshot: Stock-index futures rise ahead of jobless claims

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Stock-index futures edged higher Thursday as investors awaited a peek into the U.S. labor market and another update on activity in a surging housing market.

Corporate earnings also continue to roll in, while the European Central Bank is due to offer an updated policy statement.

What are major indexes doing?
  • Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average

    rose 83 points, or 0.2%, to 34,772.

  • S&P 500 futures

    were up 8 points, or 0.2%, at 4,358.50.

  • Nasdaq-100 futures

    ticked up 15.50 points, or 0.1%, at 14,843.25.

On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average

rose 286.01 points, or 0.8%, to finish at 34,798, while the S&P 500

advanced 0.8% and the Nasdaq Composite

gained 0.9%.

What’s driving the market?

Stocks have rebounded from a sharp Monday selloff, with all three major indexes positive on the week as investors appeared to put jitters over the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 behind them.

“It seems that concerns over the fast-spreading delta variant of the coronavirus continued to ease, perhaps due to upbeat earnings results, or because…market participants may have had second thoughts over how restrictive any potential new measures could be,” said Charalambos Pissouros, head of research at JFD Group, in a note.

With that in mind, Pissouros said he expects the broader path for stocks to remain positive, with any setbacks likely to trigger more buying, “perhaps on fear of missing out.”

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Some analysts are penciling in the potential for further near-term weakness amid weak seasonal factors, stretched valuations, worries that economic growth is peaking and uncertainty over the spread of the delta variant.

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Investors are eyeing a meeting of the European Central Bank, which is expected to leave policy unchanged but maintain a dovish stance after they tweaked their inflation target in a strategy review two weeks ago. The ECB, which previously aimed to keep inflation near but just below 2%, now aims to keep it at 2%.

The ECB will release a policy statement at 1:45 p.m. Frankfurt time, or 7:45 a.m. Eastern, followed by President Christine Lagarde’s news conference at 8:30 a.m.

Investors will get a look at the state of the job market with the release at 8:30 a.m. of weekly data on applications for employment benefits. Economists expect first-time claims to fall to have fallen to 348,000 in the week ended July 17 from 360,000 the previous week.

June existing-home sales figures are also due at 8:30 a.m. and are expected to rise to a 5.93 million annualized pace from 5.8 million in May. The June Index of Leading Economic Indicators, set for release at 10 a.m., is forecast to drop to 0.9% from 1.3%.

Which companies are in focus?

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