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* Weekly jobless claims drop
* All eyes on Biden’s press conference later in the day.
* Nike slips on social media due to Xinjiang statement
* Disabled futures: Dow 0.45%, S&P 0.44%, Nasdaq 0.55% (add comment; update prices)
March 25 (Reuters) – Major Wall Street indices were due to open lower on Thursday, dragged down by technology and banking stocks, as data showed jobless claims fell last week as the job market continued to emerge limping from the coronavirus-induced recession.
The Department of Labor’s weekly jobless claims report, the most timely indicator of economic health, showed that initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell to 684,000 for the week ending March 20 from 781,000 in the previous week.
“Most investors have assumed that we will return to a much more normal economy after this summer,” said Rick Meckler, a partner at Cherry Lane Investments in New Vernon, NJ.
“They are assuming that today’s numbers are not that significant considering that the economy will potentially reopen completely later in the year.”
The high-tech Nasdaq Composite fell this month as optimistic economic projections raised demand for undervalued stocks, including energy, mining and industrial companies, but raised fears of higher inflation and a possible tax hike.
In testimony to Congress this week, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell expressed optimism about a strong US economic rebound, while Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said future tax increases will be needed to pay. public investments.
President Joe Biden is expected to set a new target for American vaccines against COVID-19 at his first formal press conference at the White House beginning at 1:15 p.m. ET (1715 GMT). Next week, he’s also set to unveil a multi-million dollar infrastructure plan in Pittsburgh.
“It’s a story of two different markets right now and it depends on what the market wants to focus on,” said Faron Daugs, founder and CEO of Harrison Wallace Financial Group.
“Do you want to focus on stimulus, increased vaccines and reopening economies or potential taxes, increased regulation potentially in certain sectors, extremely high spending and inflation.”
Economically sensitive bank stocks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, gave up their initial earnings to fall 0.3% to 0.7% in premarket trading.
Tech heavyweight stocks Facebook Inc, parent Google Alphabet Inc, and Twitter Inc fell between 0.8% and 2.7% ahead of their CEOs’ testimony to Congress on extremism and misinformation about their services.
At 8:50 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 144 points, or 0.45%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 17 points, or 0.44%, and Nasdaq e-minis were down. 100 were down 70.25 points or 0.55%.
Shares of Nike Inc fell 5.7% as the sporting goods giant faced backlash on Chinese social media for its comments on reports of forced labor in Xinjiang.
Shares of Baidu Inc, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and JD.Com Inc listed in the US were subdued after the US securities regulator took measures that would kick foreign companies off the stock exchanges if do not meet US auditing standards (Report by Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Edited by Arun Koyyur and Maju Samuel)