Thursday September 2nd


Stock futures gain after better-than-expected jobless claims

U.S. stock index futures gained slightly on Thursday after weekly jobless claims came in slightly better than expected. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up by 80 points. S&P 500 futures gained 0.2% and Nasdaq 100 futures added 0.3%. First-time claims for unemployment insurance totaled 340,000 for the week ended August 28, versus a Dow Jones expectation of 345,000. The number is also the lowest since March 2020 at the height of the Covid crisis. The data came in a day before the key August jobs report, which investors are watching closely to decipher how fast the Federal Reserve will remove easy monetary policy. Economists predict 720,000 jobs were added in the month, down from 943,000 jobs added in July. There were very few big movers in premarket trading. Shares of Moderna were up 1%. Shares of ChargePoint, the maker of charge systems for electric vehicles, jumped 12% after reporting stellar quarterly earnings. Pet retailer Chewy and retailer Five Below saw shares tumble 9% and 8%, respectively, after reporting quarterly results. Chipmaker Broadcom is scheduled to report quarterly results after the bell Thursday. The market was mostly lackluster on Wednesday, the first trading day of September, with the Dow dipping 48.20 points, or 0.1%, to 35,312.53. The S&P 500 finished the day near the flat line, gaining just 1.41 points, or 0.03% to 4,524.09. But the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.3% to 15,309.38, hitting a record. “The relentless march higher on low volatility in U.S. equities continues and with breadth, volume positioning and sentiment measures all positive in our view we look for the rally to extend further into new highs yet,” Credit Suisse said in a note Wednesday. Energy stocks fell during Wednesday as oil and gas prices continue to rise with Hurricane Ida shutting down oil production and refining operations. Those losses were offset by gains in utility and real estate stocks. Small-cap stocks made bigger moves, with the Russell 2000 index gaining 0.6% on Wednesday following a 2.1% gain in August. Analysts and investors say that movement in small caps is tied to a move higher in value stocks. Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Thursday as Australia reported a higher-than-expected trade surplus in July. Mainland Chinese stocks closed mixed, with the Shanghai composite up 0.84% to 3,597.04 while the Shenzhen component shed 0.257% to 14,277.34. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index closed 0.24% higher at 26,090.43. The Hang Seng Tech index advanced 1.61% to 6,801.47. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed 0.33% higher at 28,543.51 while the Topix index finished the trading day 0.14% higher at 1,983.57. South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.97% to close at 3,175.85. Oil prices edged higher on Thursday, supported by a sharp decline in U.S. crude stocks and a weaker dollar, though gains were capped by an OPEC+ decision to stick to its policy of gradually increasing output. Brent crude was up 45 cents, or 0.6%, at $72.04 a barrel and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 39 cents, or 0.6%, to $68.98. U.S. crude inventories dropped by 7.2 million barrels last week, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday. Gold prices held steady on Thursday ahead of the U.S. non-farm payrolls data that is crucial to the Federal Reserve’s tapering plan, even as a private payrolls report missed expectations. Spot gold was steady at $1,814.54 per ounce by 0112 GMT. U.S. gold futures were little changed at $1,817.20. The dollar index hovered near multi-week lows.