US stock index futures were unchanged as an unexpected surge in unemployment claims made investors nervous about the economy.
Futures contracts pegged to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were just 5 points higher than their night session highs. S&P 500 futures were flat. Nasdaq 100 futures added 0.2%.
Jobless claims rose unexpectedly last week to 419,000, higher than the Dow Jones’ 350,000 estimate and more than the previous period’s revised upward of 368,000, the Department of Labor reported Thursday.
The 10-year government bond yield ticked lower after the report.
The Dow is up 0.3% over the week and is less than 1% off a record high. The 10-year Treasury yield rose slightly to 1.29% on Thursday after falling to 1.17% earlier in the week that startled stocks.
A strong reporting season for the second quarter continued. AT&T shares rose 1% after earnings and sales surpassed analyst estimates. CSX rose 2% after railroad profits more than doubled in the second quarter.
However, Texas Instruments should weigh on technology stocks as they fell more than 4% in early trading. The chipmaker beat expectations for the second quarter, but cautioned that third-quarter results could fall short of analysts’ estimates.
On Wednesday, the Dow gained 286 points, or 0.83%, while the S&P rose 0.82%. The Nasdaq Composite was the relative outperformer with a gain of 0.92%. Energy was the top performing S&P group, gaining 3.5% as oil prices rebounded.
Wednesday’s gains built on Tuesday’s strong session, and large averages have now offset losses from Monday’s sell-off. The Dow lost more than 700 points earlier in the week as rising Covid cases worldwide depressed sentiment. The 10-year Treasury yield fell to a five-month low at the beginning of the week, which also led investors to sell stocks. On Wednesday, the 10-year yield rose 8 basis points to 1.29%.
“The truth is that investors have been very spoiled by recent stock market performance,” said Ryan Detrick, LPL Financial’s chief market strategist. “Incredibly, we haven’t seen more than a 5% decline since October. While we firmly believe this bull market is alive and well, we shouldn’t delude ourselves that trees will grow forever. The risk undoubtedly increases when we in the difficult months of August and September. “
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A busy week of earnings continues on Thursday. DR Horton, Southwest Air, Abbott Labs and Union Pacific are among the names on deck before the opening bell. Intel, Twitter, Snap and Capital One will post quarterly updates after the market closes.
American Airlines posted a profit in the second quarter and posted five consecutive quarters of losses thanks to the recovery in travel demand and state aid. The stock, which has already gained 8% this week, trailed by just under 1% in pre-trading.
So far, according to Refinitiv, 15% of the S&P 500 have reported gains, with 88% beating earnings estimates. 84% of the companies reported exceeded their sales expectations.
“We expect the sloppy trade to continue in the seasonally weak summer months; however, our baseline scenario remains that the primary trend remains higher for the next 12 months, ”wrote Keith Lerner, Chief Market Strategist at Truist, in a customer announcement. “The S&P 500, which hit a new record high last week, has had one of the longest periods in the past decade without a 5% decline,” he added.
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