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Futures Flat Ahead of Jobless Claims

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Futures Flat Ahead of Jobless Claims

Futures contracts tied to the major U.S. stock indexes hovered along the flatline on Thursday ahead of key jobless claims data.

Futures for Dow Jones Industrials advanced 44 points, or 0.2%, early Thursday to 23,435.

Futures for the S&P 500 moved up 7.5 points, or 0.3%, at 2,782.50.

Futures for the NASDAQ Composite added 51.75 points, on 0.6%, to 8,645.75.

Thursday’s moves followed a slump during regular trading on Wednesday as gloomy economic data and anemic bank earnings fueled concerns over the coronavirus’s impact on the U.S. economy.

Central to Thursday’s session will be the U.S. Labor Department’s report on last week’s initial jobless claims, which economists polled by Dow Jones expected to total five million.

The jobless figures have proved a key retrospective gauge for those tracking the ailing health of the U.S. economy, with last week’s 6.61 million initial claims. Last week’s print brought total claims over the three weeks prior to more than 16 million, implying that about 10% of the U.S. workforce had filed for unemployment benefits over that time.

Despite the recent dismal economic data, some market strategists pointed to a slowdown in the daily number of new U.S. coronavirus cases and the flattening in the net number of hospitalizations in New York State as evidence that markets may trend upward in the coming weeks.

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Eager to restart significant portions of U.S. commerce, President Donald Trump again advocated for a gradual reopening of the economy during a press conference Wednesday evening.

Overseas, in Japan, the Nikkei 225 subsided 1.3% Thursday, while in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index fell 0.6%.

Oil prices gained 20 cents to $20.07 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices picked up $25.60 to $1,765.800 U.S. an ounce.

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