Stock futures trade lower ahead of latest jobless figures

U.S. equity futures are pointing to a lower open when Wall Street begins the Thursday session.

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The major futures indexes are suggesting a decline of 0.3 percent.

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One data point that could decide the direction of the market will be the weekly jobless claims report.

The Labor Department is expected to say the number of claims for unemployment benefits fell for the 14th week in a row to 1.375 million, down from 1.427 million the prior week . It would also be well below the peak of 6.9 million at the end of March.

Since the coronavirus lockdowns began back in mid-March 48.68 million people have filed jobless claims. An additional 1.355 million would bring that total to just over 50 million or around 31 percentof the U.S. workforce.

TENS OF THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS HAVE ALREADY RECEIVED 2 STIMULUS CHECKS – BY MISTAKE

Asian stock markets followed the Wednesday Wall Street session higher following gains for major U.S. tech stocks.

The Nikkei in Tokyo added 0.4 percent, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.3 percent and China's Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.4 percent.

In Europe, London's FTSE is down 0.6 percent, Germany's DAX is gaining 1.2 percent and and France's CAC is off  0.1 percent.

U.S. stocks have recovered most of this year’s losses, helping to push up global prices, despite rising numbers of American coronavirus infections that threaten to derail economic improvement.

The S&P 500 index closed up 0.8 percent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.7 percent and the Nasdaq composite gained 1.4 percent.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES27173.96+358.52+1.34%
SP500S&P 5003298.46+51.87+1.60%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX10913.561787+241.30+2.26%

Optimism is rising about a reopening U.S. economy, but virus case numbers are rising across much of the South and West. Some state governments have reversed plans to allow restaurants and other businesses to reopen.

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Benchmark U.S. crude lost 7 cents to $40.83 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 28 cents on Wednesday to settle at $40.90. Brent crude, the international price benchmark, is adding 14 cents to $43.43 per barrel in London. It added 21 cents the previous session to $43.29.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.