U.S. stock futures were flat on Thursday after took a breather from its strong run-up to start the month.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures traded 15 points lower, or less than 0.1%. S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 futures also hovered just below the flatline.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite each snapped a four-day winning streak during the cash session while the Dow eked out a minuscule gain. The Nasdaq-100 index briefly touched a record high before rolling over to close more than 0.7% lower.
Wall Street’s first decline for the month of June came after an unexpected rise in continuing jobless claims last week. Initial claims also rose more than expected.
Despite Thursday’s declines, the major averages were still on pace to post solid weekly gains. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite are all up at least 1.3% week to date. The Nasdaq-100 had gained 0.8% for the week through Thursday’s close.
“The economy and the stock market have generally moved in the same direction over time, though rarely in lock-step,” said Willie Delwiche, investment strategist at Baird, in a note. “The gulf between current headlines for Wall Street (best 50-day rally ever for the S&P 500) and Main Street (one-in-four American workers have now filed for jobless benefits) seems more extraordinary than normal.”
“While not looking past the current pain, the hope is that from these moments of uncertainty, a path toward a more hopeful future (and more robust economic participation) will emerge,” said Delwiche.
Jobs report ahead
Traders awaited the Labor Department’s latest jobs report, which is scheduled for Friday at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists polled by Dow Jones expect more than 8 million jobs were lost in May while the unemployment rate surged to nearly 20%.
That decline would come after more than 20 million jobs were lost in April due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our core concern is that risk assets are poised for a classic buy-the-rumor sell-the-fact moment regardless of the actual NFP print tomorrow,” said Ian Lyngen, head of U.S. rates strategy at BMO Capital Markets. “If ADP proves to be accurate in foretelling a less dramatic than consensus loss of jobs during May, such an event could easily be dismissed as ‘priced in’ and be followed by a round of profit-taking thereby putting downward pressure on risk ahead of the weekend.”
Data compiled by ADP and Moody’s Analytics showed private payrolls dropped by 2.76 million last month. That was much less than the 8.75 million drop that was forecast.
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