(Reuters) – Wall Street’s main indexes were set for a muted open on Thursday as investors awaited the government’s new stimulus package to prop up the economy, with data showing that 1.186 million Americans filed for unemployment claims.
Stock index futures pared losses after data showed jobless claims fell slightly in the latest week after two consecutive weeks of increases that triggered fears of a stalled recovery in the labor market. [nL1N2F71R8]
Economists polled by Reuters had expected 1.415 million claims.
The weekly jobless claims data comes ahead of the more comprehensive monthly employment report due on Friday.
Despite worries about the economy, Wall Street’s main indexes are set for a second straight weekly gain due to heaps of fiscal and monetary stimulus and better-than-feared second-quarter earnings. The S&P 500 is 2% below its February peak.
“Right now, people are taking a little bit of a pause because we have some uncertainty over the virus, and stimulus appears to be at a bit of a standstill,” said Faron Daugs, chief executive officer of Harrison Wallace Financial Group, based in Libertyville, Illinois.
“With some of the pullback in the reopening, I wouldn’t be surprised if we have a slightly higher unemployment rate than what is expected.”
Top congressional Democrats and White House officials will try again on Thursday to find a compromise on major issues including the size of a federal benefit for tens of millions of unemployed workers as they work towards a relief legislation. [nL1N2F72Y7]
At 8:44 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were up 35 points, or 0.13%, S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were up 0.25 points, or 0.01% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were up 14 points, or 0.13%.
The top decliner among the Nasdaq 100 index’s components was Western Digital (WDC.O), which sank 12.2% in premarket trade after the hard drive maker reported weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue and forecast a soft current quarter. [nL4N2F74HF]
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd (NCLH.N) and hotel operator Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc (HLT.N) dropped after reporting wider-than-expected quarterly loss as their businesses were ravaged by the pandemic. [nL4N2F839Y] [nL4N2F82X8]
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (BMY.N) gained 3.1% after the drugmaker raised its annual profit forecast on hopes of a recovery in demand for its hospital-administered drugs. [nL4N2F746C]
ViacomCBS Inc (VIACA.O) jumped 4.5% after beating analysts’ estimates for quarterly revenue due to high demand for streaming.
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