Stock Futures Edge Down Ahead of Jobless Figures
By Anna Hirtenstein
U.S. stock futures ticked down Thursday ahead of fresh data that
will offer a view into the pace of the labor market's recovery and
the health of the services industry.
Futures tied to the S&P 500 edged 0.2% lower, pointing to a
muted slide for the broad market gauge after the opening bell. It
ground 0.1% higher on Wednesday. Nasdaq-100 futures also slid 0.2%
Thursday, suggesting a subdued retreat for technology stocks.
The major indexes have been sluggish this month as investors
weighed some signs that the economic rebound may slow or falter,
with snarled supply chains bolstering input costs for an array of
products. Concerns about high valuations for many stocks following
the monthslong rally in U.S. markets are also giving some investors
A Federal Reserve report on Wednesday noted a pickup in growth
as consumers return to restaurants and stores, but also said
supply-chain disruptions and acute labor shortages are leading to
price increases. Thursday's weekly jobless claims figures, seen as
a proxy for unemployment, and Friday's jobs report will provide
insights into the recovery in the labor market, which Fed officials
have said they remain concerned about.
"There is a continued focus on inflation and central banks and
when they taper," said Caroline Simmons, U.K. chief investment
officer at UBS Global Wealth Management. "If the labor market comes
in stronger than people are expecting, it will then raise the
debate that the economy is on track, job growth is good and
therefore we'll end up with wage increases and at some point,
The latest data on initial jobless claims is scheduled to be
released at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street
Journal are forecasting a decline below 400,000 applications, from
406,000 the prior week, which would be a new pandemic low.
Meanwhile, a handful of stocks popular on online forums such as
AMC Entertainment Holdings have soared to unprecedented levels in
frenzied trading this week. AMC rose almost 14% in premarket
trading Thursday, while BlackBerry gained over 25%. Naked Brand
Group and Sundial Growers were among the other small stocks to see
"These are quite astonishing price reactions, but if something
goes up that much, it usually comes down again, as it's not based
on fundamentals," said Ms. Simmons. "These things usually don't end
well, it is very volatile and people can lose quite a lot of money
depending on when they go in and when the stock corrects."
The joke cryptocurrency dogecoin rose above 44 cents from around
41 cents at 5 p.m. ET Wednesday, according to data from
Surveys of purchasing managers, slated to be released at 9:45
a.m., are expected to offer insights into the recovery of the U.S.
services industry in May, which were among the hardest-hit by the
lockdowns. Another gauge of services activity will also go out at
"We're seeing some peaking and plateauing of the data" as the
rate of change from the lows of the pandemic smooths out, said
Grace Peters, an investment strategist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank.
"This does lead to some indigestion in markets: we've seen equity
markets plateau over the last month, which is very much tied to
In bond markets, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury
note ticked up to 1.601% from 1.591% on Wednesday. Yields rise when
Oil prices edged up, with Brent crude, the international energy
benchmark, adding 0.4% to trade at $71.74 per barrel. That is the
highest in more than two years.
Overseas, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 pulled back from
a record high, easing down 0.2%.
In Asia, the major benchmarks ended trading on a mixed note. The
Shanghai Composite Index slipped almost 0.4%, while Japan's Nikkei
225 advanced 0.4%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index declined 1.1%.
Write to Anna Hirtenstein at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 03, 2021 05:12 ET (09:12 GMT)
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