Thursday September 3rd

3-09-2020

Dow futures trim losses, turn positive after release of jobless claims data

U.S. stock index futures were slightly lower in early trading Thursday as investors paused in the wake of already-robust gains seen on Wall Street so far this week. S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 contracts traded lower by 0.4% and 1.1%, respectively. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures turned marginally higher after the Labor Department released its latest read on weekly jobless claims. The number of first-time filers for unemployment benefits totaled 881,000 for the week ending Aug. 29. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected first-time applications to have decelerated to 950,000 during the week ending Aug. 29. Facebook shares were down more than 1% in the premarket after the company said it will ban new political ads on its platform in the week before the presidential election. Apple slid 2.3% and Amazon dropped 1%. The early morning trading action Thursday came on the heels of yet another strong day for stocks on Wednesday that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average climb 454 points, or 1.59%. The rally lifted the blue-chip average above 29,000 for the first time since February and represented its single-best session since mid-July. Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite clinched record closing levels. The S&P 500 notched a similar advance of 1.54% as cyclical stocks — those that move in response to the health of the U.S. economy — outperformed. Materials stock DuPont popped 5%, Verizon added 2.3% and Alaska Air climbed 3.3%. Trhough high-flying names like Apple and Tesla fell 2% and 5.8%, respectively, their Wednesday losses only curb significant year-to-date gains for each stock. Still, not all tech names underperformed: Semiconductor stocks like Nvidia and Intel rose 3.8% and 2.8%. The VanEck Vectors Semiconductors ETF rose 2.6%. Stocks in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Thursday as investors reacted to regional economic data releases. Mainland Chinese stocks were lower on the day, with the Shanghai composite down 0.58% to around 3,384.98 while the Shenzhen component dipped 0.828% to about 13,772.37. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was 0.49% lower, as of its final hour of trading. Elsewhere, South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.33% on the day to 2,395.90. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.94% to close at 23,465.53 while the Topix index also gained 0.48% to end its trading day at 1,631.24. Oil prices extended losses on Thursday, falling to their lowest point since early August, as worries about weaker U.S. gasoline demand and a sluggish economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic dented sentiment. Brent crude fell $1.01, or 2.27%, to $43.42 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 2.46%, or $1.02, at $40.49 per barrel. Both benchmarks fell more than 2% on Wednesday. Gold prices dipped to a near one-week low on Thursday, weighed down by a stronger dollar and as growing hopes of an economic recovery bolstered risk appetite. Spot gold was down 0.7% to $1,928.86 per ounce, having earlier fallen to $1,926.99. U.S. gold futures dipped 0.5% to $1,934.40.