Thursday May 6th


Stock futures are flat after Dow notches record high

U.S. stock index futures held steady early Thursday after the Dow closed at a record in the prior session. Futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 30 points. S&P 500 futures were little changed. Nasdaq 100 futures dipped slightly. The muted action in futures came despite a better-than-expected on jobless claims. First-time claims for unemployment insurance totaled 498,000 for the week ended March 1, hitting a fresh pandemic-era low and better than a Dow Jones estimate of 527,000. The data came one day before April’s jobs report is released on Friday. “Job growth has been strong and increasing for the past three months. April’s employment numbers are expected to show another significant gain, as layoffs were down by one-sixth during the month,” noted Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network. PayPal shares jumped 4% in premarket trading to lead tech names after the company posted better-than-expected earnings and said revenue last quarter surged 31%. The Nasdaq Composite posted its fourth straight negative session on Wednesday for its longest daily losing streak since October. The tech-heavy index and S&P 500 are each lower for the week. The Dow is on track to break a two-week losing streak. However, Etsy tanked by 11% in early trading after warning that sales will slow as the pandemic boost wanes. Shares of Gap, which have been popping in the past month along with other specialty retail as investors bet on a return to more in-person shopping, was higher again, up about 2% in early trading. During Wednesday’s session, the Dow gained 97 points to end at a new closing high. The 30-stock benchmark index also set a new intraday record after rising nearly 200 points at one point. It’s too early to say whether the early gains Thursday will mark a reversal in trend. “Technology sector earnings momentum relative to the broader market peaked in late May of 2020,” said Keith Lerner, chief market strategist at Truist. “Given that we expect the economy to grow well above trend this year and next, value stands to benefit. Indeed, when looking at the value indices, they are dominated by financials and tend to have greater exposure to economically-sensitive sectors that are more leveraged to an economic recovery.” The Russell 1000 Value index has gained 16% this year, while the Russell 1000 Growth index has advanced 5%. However, he added that concerns still remain in the market. For one, federal stimulus packages have boosted growth, and at some point, the economy will have to return to organic growth. The busiest week of earnings is now in the rearview mirror, but a number of companies have yet to provide their quarterly updates. Anheuser-Busch InBev, Regeneron, ViacomCBS and Kellogg are among the names on deck prior to the opening bell. Dropbox, Expedia, Roku, Beyond Meat, Shake Shack and Square will report after the market closes. Asia-Pacific stock markets traded mixed on Thursday as investors look ahead to the U.S. jobs report due later this week for clues about how long the Fed will stay on hold. Japanese markets returned to trade for the first time this week after being closed for public holidays. The benchmark Nikkei 225 jumped 1.8% to 29,331.37, trimming some of its earlier gains, while the Topix index rose 1.54% to 1,927.40. South Korea’s Kospi, which was also closed in the previous session, rose 1% to 3,178.74. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index wavered between gains and losses before closing up 0.61% at 28,591.32. Chinese mainland shares traded for the first time in May after being shut for public holidays. The benchmark Shanghai composite declined 0.16% to 3,441.28 while the Shenzhen component fell 1.58% to 14,210.60. Oil prices slipped after earlier gains on Thursday, weighed by rising COVID-19 infections in India and elsewhere, and despite a much sharper than expected fall in U.S. crude inventories. Brent crude oil futures fell by 28 cents, or 0.4%, to $68.68 a barrel, and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) U.S. crude futures lost 31 cents, or 0.5%, to $65.32 a barrel. Gold rose on Thursday as the dollar retreated from two-week highs and U.S. Treasury yields fell, with traders focusing on economic data for clues on the Federal Reserve’s strategy on monetary support going forward. Investors also awaited the outcome of a Bank of England meeting, where the central bank is expected to say that Britain’s economy is heading for a much stronger recovery this year than previously expected, and is likely to start slowing its pandemic emergency support. Spot gold was up 0.4% at $1,793 per ounce by 0948 GMT. U.S. gold futures rose 0.5% to $1,793.50 per ounce.