Stock Futures Pause Ahead of Jobless Data | Sidnaz Blog

U.S. stock futures paused Thursday ahead of another batch of earnings and data that will give investors fresh insights into the economic recovery.

Futures for the S&P 500 ticked down less than 0.1%. Contracts for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were flat. Futures on the technology-heavy Nasdaq-100 index were marginally higher.

Stocks jumped higher on Wednesday, erasing most of their losses from earlier in the week. Many investors remain upbeat about the outlook for shares, but are growing concerned that a surge in coronavirus cases globally could delay plans to reopen economic activity. India on Thursday reported the world’s biggest one-day rise in new infections.

“It wouldn’t take much news for [investors] to start ripping up their reopening playbook,” said Christopher Jeffery, head of inflation and rates strategy at

Legal & General

Investment Management. “The market has gone from a world of not questioning it to starting to question it,” he said, adding that his team is following the rise in cases in Michigan closely.

Earnings season continues apace.


Southwest Airlines,

American Airlines Group


Blackstone Group

are among those due to report results before the bell. Earnings from


and Snap are scheduled for after markets close.

At 8:30 a.m. ET, data on filings for jobless benefits are expected to show that claims last week remained near their lowest level since the start of the pandemic. Economists forecast that initial unemployment claims, a proxy for layoffs, edged higher to 603,000. That would add to evidence of a strengthening labor market and overall economic recovery.

Bond yields continued to slide. The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes ticked down to 1.561% from 1.566% Wednesday. Yields, which move in the opposite direction to bond prices, have fallen from a high of 1.749% in late March.

Jason Borbora-Sheen, multiasset portfolio manager at Ninety One, said he expects the broad stock market to trend sideways or decline over the next few months. “Things have become quite overbought,” he said.

One of the two funds Mr. Borbora-Sheen manages has bought put options to protect against downward moves in stocks. Puts are contracts that pay out if the underlying asset falls below a certain price.

In overseas markets, shares of tech and food-and-beverage companies led the Stoxx Europe 600 up 0.5%.

Shares of

Credit Suisse Group

fell 4.8% after the Swiss lender said it would issue new shares after losses from Archegos Capital Management wiped out a strong first quarter. Renault shares lost 2.3% after the French car maker said revenue fell in the first quarter.

The euro held steady at $1.204 ahead of a monetary-policy decision by the European Central Bank. The bank isn’t expected to change interest rates or its bond-buying program. It will publish a statement at 7:45 a.m. ET, after which ECB President

Christine Lagarde

will hold a press conference.

Ms. Lagarde might refer to the recent uptick in European government bond yields, according to Mr. Jeffery of Legal & General. However, he doesn’t expect policy makers to push back against higher yields because the increase has been driven by higher inflation expectations.

Turkey’s lira dropped 1.4% to trade at 8.31 per dollar. The latest slide in the currency came after U.S. officials said President Biden is poised to declare that the massacres of Armenians in the early 20th century constituted genocide, a step that would further inflame ties with Ankara.

In Asia, chemical and pharmaceutical stocks helped Japan’s Nikkei 225 climb 2.4% by the close. China’s Shanghai Composite Index ticked down 0.2%.

Traders worked on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday.


Courtney Crow/Associated Press

Write to Joe Wallace at [email protected]

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