By Peter Nurse
Investing.com – U.S. stocks are set to open marginally lower Thursday, consolidating after strong gains the previous session, with investors cautious ahead of key unemployment data and with U.S. policymakers still at loggerheads over the size and scope of the next fiscal stimulus bill.
At the close Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.1% to hit a new 3-month high, while the S&P 500 index added 1.4%, just a few points below its record high close, and the NASDAQ Composite index gained 2.1%.
Doubts are mounting over whether U.S. lawmakers will strike an agreement on an additional round of fiscal stimulus to support the economy.
Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, on Wednesday rebuffed an overture from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to resume negotiations, with the sides seen as being at least $2 trillion apart.
President Donald Trump inflamed the situation Wednesday, describing the Democrats’ proposals as “ridiculous” and filled with provisions that “no one in their right mind would approve.”
Attention Thursday will switch to the release of the weekly initial unemployment claims, at 8:30 AM ET (1230 GMT), which are expected to show a slight improvement from the week earlier, at 1.12 million filings, compared with 1.18 million.
Still the trend continues to be over 1 million claims, dating all the way back to March, when businesses shut down to slow the spread of Covid-19. The continuing claims numbers meanwhile show the need for additional fiscal relief.
Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased 1.1% on Wednesday, compared with Tuesday, to 5.17 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. The increase matched the average daily gain over the past week.
Oil prices edged lower Thursday, consolidating after gains the previous session on the back of U.S. government data showing a fall in inventories, giving weight to the view that fuel demand is returning despite the coronavirus pandemic.
That said, the International Energy Agency lowered its global oil demand forecasts for the first time in several months earlier Thursday, after releasing its closely-watched monthly report.
The IEA now sees global oil demand for 2020 at 91.1 million barrels per day, 140,000 barrels per day lower than its previous call, reflecting a fall of 8.1 million barrels per day year-on-year.
Stocks – U.S. Futures Lower Ahead of Jobless Claims; Dow Futures Down 14 Pts
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