Portfolio

US pre-open: Futures point to mixed session ahead of jobless claims data

By Iain Gilbert

Date: Thursday 28 May 2020

US pre-open: Futures point to mixed session ahead of jobless claims data

(Sharecast News) - Wall Street futures had stocks opening on a mixed note on Thursday as market participants tried to remain optimistic about the reopening of the US economy and awaited the Department of Labor's latest jobless claims report.
As of 1230 BST, Dow Jones and S&P 500 futures had the indices opening 0.49% and 0.15% higher, respectively, while Nasdaq-100 futures were down 0.25% ahead of the bell.

The Dow closed 553.16 points higher on Wednesday, as optimism regarding the reopening of the economy and a potential Covid-19 vaccine offset fears around a heightening of tensions between the world's two largest economies.

Thursday's primary focus will again be this week's weekly initial jobless claims report from the Labor Department at 1330 BST, with economists expecting to see another 2.05m citizens having applied for unemployment in the week ended 23 May.

So far Covid-19 has claimed 38.6m jobs in the US since the outbreak hit in March.

Tech stocks were down ahead of the open, dragging the Nasdaq into the red, as word broke that Donald Trump planned to issue an executive order against social media giants, escalating his war on Twitter.

A draft copy of the order will see the White House limit legal protections afforded to social media companies, making it easier for federal regulators to hold companies liable for limiting users' freedom of speech.

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said social media networks should not be held accountable for what politicians using its platforms post.

"I don't think that Facebook or internet platforms, in general, should be arbiters of truth," Zuckerberg said. "Political speech is one of the most sensitive parts in a democracy, and people should be able to see what politicians say."

Heightened tensions between the US and China were also in focus again as China's National People's Congress endorsed a national security law for Hong Kong that will alter the territory's mini-constitution, straining relations between Beijing, Washington and Downing Street.

Elsewhere on the macro front, monthly durable goods orders figures and quarterly gross domestic product growth numbers will also be published at 1330 BST, while pending home sales data will follow at 1500 BST.

New York Federal Reserve head John Williams will deliver a speech at 1600 BST.

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