Thursday April 30th


Dow futures fall more than 200 points as jobless toll from virus tops 30 million

U.S. stock index futures were headed for a lower open on Thursday as Wall Street wrapped up its best month in decades. Tech stocks rose in premarket trading, led by Facebook and Microsoft which issued better-than-expected revenue projections in their earnings reports. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 244 points, or 0.5%. S&P 500 futures were lower by 0.5%. Nasdaq-100 futures rose 0.2%. Stock futures retreated after the European Central Bank said it was prepared to increase its emergency asset purchase program. Some traders were hoping the ECB would announce an increase Thursday. Stocks surged on Wednesday on Wednesday. The S&P 500 is up more than 13% for the month and on track for its biggest one-month gain since 1974. The Dow is up 12% in April, which would be its best month since 1987. Both Facebook and Microsoft reported promising revenue figures despite the global coronavirus outbreak. Facebook soared more than 9% in premarket trading after it reported that, after an initial “significant” pullback in advertising revenues in March thanks to Covid-19, it’s seen sales stabilize in the first three weeks of April. It reported first-quarter per-share earnings of $1.71 and revenues of $17.74 billion. Microsoft rose about 2% in premarket trading after the company reported fiscal third-quarter sales growth of 15% thanks to growth in its cloud business. The software giant said in a statement that the disease “had minimal net impact on the total company revenue” in the three months ended March 31, but cautioned that “effects of COVID-19 may not be fully reflected in the financial results until future periods.” The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 532.31 points, or 2.2%, to 24,633.86 during Wednesday’s session. The S&P 500 gained 2.66% to 2,939.51 while the Nasdaq Composite closed 3.57% higher at 8,914.71. Investors cited developments at Gilead Sciences for the market’s pop during Wednesday’s session after the biotech company reported positive results from two tests that showed its drug remdesivir could be a Covid-19 treatment. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said remdesivir shows a “clear-cut” positive effect when treating the virus. U.S. traders on Thursday pored over the Labor Department’s latest report on jobless claims. Over 3.8 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the six-week total to more than 30 million. Stocks in Asia rose on Thursday following positive developments overnight on a potential new treatment for Covid-19. Mainland Chinese stocks rose on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 1.33% to about 2,860.08 while the Shenzhen composite added 1.885% to around 1,763.36. Stocks in Japan saw robust gains as they returned to trade following a Wednesday holiday. The Nikkei 225 jumped 2.14% to close at 20,193.69. The Topix index also rose 1.03% to end its trading day at 1,464.03. Markets in Hong Kong and South Korea were closed on Thursday for a holiday. Oil prices jumped on Thursday, lifted by signs that the U.S. crude glut is not growing as quickly as expected and of a rise in fuel demand, which has been crushed by the coronavirus. West Texas Intermediate crude futures climbed $2.36, or 15.7%, to $17.43 per barrel. The U.S. benchmark surged 22% on Wednesday. Brent was up 11.4%, or $2.57 at $25.11 a barrel in light trading, with the June contract expiring on Thursday, having posted a 10% gain on Wednesday. Gold rose on Thursday en route to its best month in four years as expectations of more monetary easing from central banks and persistent worries over a global recession lifted safe-haven demand. Spot gold was up 0.2% at $1,713.75 per ounce. U.S. gold futures rose 1.1% to $1,732.10 per ounce.