Stock futures pull back as jobless claims decline slightly

Jobless claims, retail sales and several earnings reports will dictate how the market trades

U.S. equity futures are trading lower ahead of the Thursday session on Wall Street.

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The major futures indexes are suggesting a decline of 0.7 percent.

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The Labor Department said the number of claims for unemployment benefits fell for the 15th week in a row to 1.3 million, down slightly from 1.314 million the prior week and well below the peak of 6.9 million at the end of March. Since the coronavirus lockdowns began back in mid-March more than 51 million people have filed jobless claims, or 32 percent of the U.S. workforce.

Retail sales jumped 7.5 percent in June.

US FIRMS SAW UPTICK IN ACTIVITY BUT OUTLOOK WEIGHS, FED SURVEY SHOWS

It will also be a busy day for earnings as Bank of America reported better-than-expected results. Morgan Stanley and Charles Schwab also reported. Johnson & Johnson's results topped expectations and the company raised its outlook. Netflix will present its results in the afternoon.

China’s economy grew 3.2 percent in annual terms in April-June, after a 6.8 percent contraction in the previous quarter.

However, that data failed to excite investors.

CHINA'S ECONOMY GROWS 3.2%, FIRST ECONOMY TO RISE SINCE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

China's Shanghai Composite led Thursday’s declines, dropping 4.5 percent, Tokyo’s Nikkei lost 0.8 percent and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 2 percent.

In Europe, London's FTSE slipped 0.6 percent, Germany's DAX is off 0.6 percent and France's CAC fell 0.8 percent.

Shares advanced worldwide on Wednesday after researchers announced that a vaccine developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna had revved up people’s immune systems in early testing, as hoped.

The S&P 500 rose 0.9 percent, pulling to within 4.7 percent of its all-time high set in February. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also climbed 0.9 percent and the Nasdaq composite gained 0.6 percent.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES27386.98+185.46+0.68%
SP500S&P 5003349.16+21.39+0.64%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX11108.070638+109.67+1.00%

Rising numbers of infections and deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic remain a constant source of uncertainty.

A raft of troubling news, from the more than 13.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 to escalating friction between Washington and Beijing, hangs over the markets but has been countered by the massive amounts of stimulus poured into financial systems by central banks to counter the pandemic downturn.

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In other trading, benchmark U.S. crude oil shed 50 cents to $40.70 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 91 cents to settle at $41.20 per barrel on Wednesday.

Brent oil, the international standard, gave up 36 cents to $43.43 per barrel. It picked up 89 cents to settle at $43.79 per barrel overnight.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.