Stock futures pause rally ahead of fresh jobless claims numbers

Stocks have gained for four straight sessions

U.S. equity futures are pointing to a lower open on Thursday as traders brace for the next wave of jobless claims.

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The major futures indexes are indicating a decline of 0.5 percent when Wall Street begins trading.

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Wall Street turned in its fourth straight gain after surveys Wednesday showed employers cut fewer jobs than forecast last month and a U.S. manufacturing downturn eased slightly.

Before the opening bell, the Labor Department is expected to say the number of claims for unemployment benefits fell for the 9th week in a row to 1.8 million, down from 2.123 million the prior week. Since the coronavirus lockdowns were initiated back in mid-March, 40.77 million people have filed jobless claims.

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The payroll processor ADP on Wednesday said that private employers cut nearly 2.8 million jobs last month, but that was much milder than the 9.3 million that economists told investors to expect. That raises optimism that Friday’s more comprehensive jobs report from the U.S. government may also not be as bad as feared. Economists say it may show a loss of 8 million jobs, which would be a deceleration from April’s loss of 20.5 million jobs.

Stock markets have risen on optimism about a possible global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic as more economies reopen despite rising case numbers in the United States, Brazil and other countries.

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In Asian markets, Japan's Nikkei rose 0.4 percent, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.2 percent, and China's Shanghai Composite shed 0.1 percent.

In Europe, London's FTSE slipped 0.5 percent, Germany's DAX was down 0.8 percent and France's CAC was off 0.7 percent.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES26075.3+369.21+1.44%
SP500S&P 5003185.04+32.99+1.05%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX10617.443394+69.69+0.66%

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 1.4 percent on Wednesday, gaining nearly 40 percent since late March. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 2 percent to 26,269.89 and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.8 percent.

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In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude lost 48 cents to $36.79 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oils, shed 22 cents to $39.57 per barrel in London.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.