Stock futures trade lower on US job concerns
U.S. equity futures are trading lower ahead of weekly jobless claims numbers.
The major futures indexes are indicating a decline of about 0.4 percent when trading begins on Thursday.
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Jobless claims are expected to surge to 1 million last week, with estimates running as high as 4 million as efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic triggered a wave of layoffs and brought the U.S. economy to a virtual standstill. That would exceed by far the record-high number of 695 thousand claims filed in October 1982.
The Senate late Wednesday passed an unparalleled $2.2 trillion economic rescue package steering aid to businesses, workers and health care systems engulfed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The unanimous vote came despite misgivings on both sides about whether it goes too far or not far enough and capped days of difficult negotiations as Washington confronted a national challenge unlike it has ever faced.
The 880-page measure is the largest economic relief bill in U.S. history. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared somber and exhausted as he announced the vote — and he released senators from Washington until April 20, though he promised to recall them if needed.
SENATE PASSES $2 TRILLION CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS BILL IN UNANIMOUS VOTE
In Asian markets, Tokyo’s Nikkei fell 4.5 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was lower by 0.7 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite slipped 0.6 percent.
In Europe, London’s FTSE fell 1.9 percent, Germany’s DAX declined 2.2 percent and France’s CAC was down 1.6 percent.
Prices have swung wildly as business shutdowns spread around the world. Investors say they need to see a decline in numbers of new coronavirus infections before prices can bottom out.
Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 21200.55 +495.64 +2.39%
SP500 S&P 500 2475.56 +28.23 +1.15%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 7384.295089 -33.56 -0.45%
On Wednesday, the S&P 500 advanced to 2,475.66 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.4 percent to 21,200.55. The Nasdaq lost 33.56 points to 7,384.30.
Global central banks have cut interest rates and injected money into financial markets.
The number of known infections has leaped past 450,000 people worldwide, and more than 20,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. Overall, more than 112,000 have recovered.
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For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness including pneumonia and death.