Thursday August 4th


Stock futures are flat as Wall Street awaits new economic data

U.S. stock index futures were largely flat Thursday morning. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 25 points or 0.08%. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures were flat as markets shrugged off a slight uptick in weekly jobless claims, reported Thursday morning. Next, all eyes are on the June nonfarm payrolls report schedule to be released Friday. Wall Street was coming off a strong session. On Wednesday, the Dow advanced more than 400 points, while the S&P 500 hit its highest level since June. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped about 2.5%. Investors got the green light to jump back into beaten up tech names after a surprise rebound in July services PMI and comments from St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard. Bullard said he does not think the U.S. is in a recession, citing job gains and low unemployment. “U.S.-China tensions remain high and the Fed continues to talk tough on inflation, but earnings were enough to catalyze the next leg of the rebound,” according to Barclays. “A wave of Tech quarterlies came in better than expected, and the [technology, media and entertainment, and telecommunications] complex led the S&P 500 to a new QTD high.” Investors will get another batch of earnings on Thursday. Virgin Galactic, AMC Entertainment and Beyond Meat are scheduled to report after the bell. In addition, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Loretta Mester speaks at the Economic Club of Pittsburgh. Weekly jobless claims ticked up 6,000 to 260,000 for the week ending July 30, according to a report from the Labor Department. Asia-Pacific shares traded higher on Thursday following the rally on Wall Street and as investors move on from the tensions over U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial visit to Taiwan. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped more 2% earlier in the session and was up 1.76% in the final hour of trade. The Hang Seng Tech index rose 2.82%, with shares of Alibaba popping more than 4% ahead of its earnings results later Thursday. Mainland China markets fell for two straight sessions, but rose slightly on Thursday. The Shanghai Composite added 0.8% to 3,189.04 and the Shenzhen Component climbed 0.69% higher to close at 12,065.22. Elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.69% to 27,932.2, while the Topix index was about flat at 1,930.73. The Kospi in South Korea gained 0.47% to 2,473.11 and the Kosdaq advanced 1.2% to 825.16. Oil prices rose in early Asian trade on Thursday, bouncing off multi-month lows in the previous session caused by data signaling weak U.S. fuel demand. Brent crude futures rose 27 cents to $97.08 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures added 65 cents to trade at $91.31. Both benchmark fell to their weakest levels since February in the previous session. U.S. crude oil inventories rose unexpectedly last week as exports fell and refiners lowered runs, while gasoline stocks also posted a surprise build as demand slowed, the Energy Information Administration said. Gold neared a one-month high on Thursday as a pullback in the dollar and U.S. Treasury yields provided support ahead of a key U.S. jobs report that could influence the Federal Reserve’s policy stance. Spot gold rose 1% to $1,781.99 per ounce, while U.S. gold futures gained 1.2% to $1,798.20.