Following the recent run to new record highs, stocks appear poised to give back ground in early trading on Thursday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a sharply lower open for the markets, with the Dow futures down by 490 points.
Concerns about the outlook for the global economy may weigh on Wall Street amid considerable weakness in the overseas markets.
News that Japan has declared a new state of emergency for Tokyo ahead of the Olympic Games is likely to add to worries about the impact of new coronavirus variants.
The U.S. economy has recovered strongly from the pandemic-induced slump, but the rapid spread of variants in other parts of the world has raised concerns about a global slowdown.
Potentially adding to the negative sentiment on Wall Street, the Labor Department recently released a report showing initial jobless claims unexpectedly inched higher in the week ended July 3rd.
The Labor Department said initial jobless claims crept up to 373,000, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 371,000.
The uptick surprised economists, who had expected jobless claims to drop to 350,000 from the 364,000 originally reported for the previous week.
A continued drop in bond yields is also likely to weigh on banking stocks, while energy stocks may see further downside amid another decrease by the price of crude oil.
Stocks fluctuated over the course of the trading day on Wednesday before eventually ending the session modestly higher. With the uptick on the day, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq once again reached new record closing highs.
The major averages all closed in positive territory, although the Nasdaq inched up just 1.42 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 14,665.06. The Dow climbed 104.42 points or 0.3 percent to 34,681.79 and the S&P 500 rose 14.59 points or 0.3 percent to 4,358.13.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index slid by 0.9 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell by 0.8 percent.
The major European markets have shown even more substantial moves to the downside. While the French CAC 40 Index has plunged by 2.2 percent, the German DAX Index is down by 2 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is down by 1.8 percent.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are slipping $0.30 to $71.90 a barrel after tumbling $1.17 to $72.20 a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, after climbing $7.90 to $1,802.10 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are jumping $15.60 to $1,817.70 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 109.61 yen versus the 110.66 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1849 compared to yesterday’s $1.1790.
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