Stock futures trade lower ahead of next jobless avalanche

Stocks fell in the last session on pessimism about life getting back to normal

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

The major futures indexes are indicating a decline of 0.3 percent when Wall Street begins trading.

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Stocks fell in the last session on pessimism about life getting back to normal soon amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said further stimulus could be needed to support the economy's recovery from the economic contraction.

The Labor Department is expected to say that the number of claims for unemployment benefits fell for a sixth consecutive week to 2.5 million (estimates range from 2 million to 3.1 million). During the prior 7 weeks, since the coronavirus lockdowns began, some 33.48 million workers have filed jobless claims. Another 2.5 million would bring that total to 35.98 million.

In Asia on Thursday, Japan's Nikkei slipped 1.7 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng dipped 1.5 percent, China's Shanghai Composite was down 0.9 percent.

In Europe, London's FTSE fell 2.4 percent, Germany's DAX declined 1.9 percent and France's CAC dropped  2 percent.

FED'S POWELL SAYS US ECONOMY MAY NEED MORE POLICY HELP TO AVOID 'PROLONGED RECESSION'

Weighing on investor sentiments was Fed chair Powell's warning of a prolonged recession. Powell said the U.S. government may need to pump even more aid into the economy, which is bleeding millions of jobs every week.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES26763.13-525.05-1.92%
SP500S&P 5003236.92-78.65-2.37%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX10632.985307-330.65-3.02%

Wall Street indexes suffered after players saw a quick rebound as less likely, with the S&P 500 falling 1.7 percent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 2.2 percent and the Nasdaq composite lost 1.5 percent.

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U.S. benchmark crude gained $1.10 to $26.40 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 65 cents to $25.68 on Wednesday. Brent crude, the international standard, rose $1.02 to $30.21 a barrel.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.