Dow futures head lower ahead of key employment report as Senate approves historic $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill

U.S. stock-index futures were lower, but off the morning’s worst levels, early Thursday, following a weekly jobless claims report from the Labor Department showed that 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits for the first time, up from 282,000 the prior week, as the coronavirus pandemic shut down businesses across the nation.

Overnight, the U.S. Senate passed a historic $2 trillion economic stimulus bill, putting it one step closer to being signed into law to mitigate the economic fallout from the coronavirus epidemic.

How are benchmarks performing?

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMM20, -0.57% were down 201 points, or 1%, at 20,825, those for the S&P 500 ESM20, -0.85% were off by 29 points at 2,438, for a decline of 1.2%. Nasdaq-100 futures NQM20, -0.59% were trading 71 points, or 1%, lower at 7,397.

On Wednesday, the Dow DJIA, +2.39% rose 495.64 points, or 2.4%, to settle at 21,200.55. The S&P 500 SPX, +1.15% rose 28.23 points, or 1.2%, to end at 2,475.56. The Nasdaq Composite COMP, -0.45% turned negative, finishing down 33.56 points, or 0.5%, at 7,384.30.

The move for the Dow on Wednesday marked its first two days of successive gains since Feb. 6, while the S&P 500 registered its first consecutive gains since the period ended Feb. 12.

From its recent record highs, the Dow is down 28.3% from its Feb. 12 closing peak, the S&P 500 was around 27% from its recent high, and the technology-heavy Nasdaq was off 25%.

What’s driving

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