1. -- Stock Futures Slip as Wall Street Awaits Jobless Claims
Stock futures slipped Thursday as investors anticipated what is expected to be another set of gloomy employment figures and more corporate earnings reports.
Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 44 points, futures for the S&P 500 were down 2 points and Nasdaq futures fell 13 points.
Stocks finished higher Wednesday, clawing back some losses from the previous two sessions, after oil prices jumped following an historic plunge. The Dow gained 456 points, or 1.99%, to 23,475, the S&P 500 rose 2.29% and the Nasdaq jumped 2.81%.
Oil prices rose Thursday for a second straight day, sparked by President Donald Trump's instruction for the U.S. Navy to "shoot down" any Iranian gunboats that harass American ships at sea.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the U.S. benchmark, rose 11.47% to $15.36 a barrel. Futures for Brent crude, the international standard, gained 7.31% to $21.86 a barrel.
The House of Representatives, meanwhile, is expected Thursday to approve and then send to Trump a nearly $500 billion aid measure for businesses crippled by the coronavirus. The latest aid package would bring the total cost of the bills designed to cushion the blow from the coronavirus pandemic to about $2.5 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
2. -- Jobless Claims - Another 4.25M Americans Expected to File for Unemployment
The economic calendar Thursday includes weekly Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists expect the number of people filing for unemployment benefits to slow to 4.25 million in the week ended April 18. About 22 million people have filed initial claims over the past four weeks as the coronavirus pandemic has paralyzed the U.S. economy.
“The U.S. economy is hemorrhaging jobs at a pace and scale never before recorded,” said Scott Anderson, chief economist at Bank of the West in San Francisco. “It compares to a natural disaster on a national scale.”
The calendar also includes the PMI Composite Flash for April at 9:45 a.m. and New Home Sales for March at 10 a.m.
3. -- Intel and Eli Lilly Report Earnings
Earnings reports are also expected Thursday from Intel (INTC) - Get Report, Domino's Pizza (DPZ) - Get Report, Freeport-McMoran (FCX) - Get Report, Capital One (COF) - Get Report, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) - Get Report, Citrix Systems (CTXS) - Get Report, Southwest Airlines (LUV) - Get Report and Union Pacific (UNP) - Get Report.
4. -- Coronavirus - The Latest
The number of confirmed global cases of the coronavirus has risen to 2,630,778, according to the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering, and deaths increased to 183,489.
The U.S. has 842,624 cases of the coronavirus, the most in the world, according to Johns Hopkins CSSE. Deaths in the U.S. have risen to 46,785, also the most in the world.
President Trump signed an executive order on immigration saying he did so to protect “our great American workers.”
The move, the president said, “will ensure unemployed Americans of all backgrounds will be first in line for jobs as our economy reopens. Crucially it will also preserve our health care resources for American patients.”
Experts, however, said the order merely will delay the issuance of green cards for a minority of applicants, the Associated Press noted.
The New York Stock Exchange could reopen in phases after May 15, CNN reported, citing two sources who were on a conference call with NYSE Chief Operating Officer Michael Blaugrund.
Blaugrund said when the floor does open, there will be a reduced head count on the floor and social distancing guidelines will be followed to prevent the possible spread of the coronavirus, CNN reported, citing the sources.
The NYSE closed temporarily in March and shifted to fully electronic trading.
5. -- Delta to Raise $3 Billion in Debt, Royal Caribbean Seeks More Financing
Delta Air Lines (DAL) - Get Report said it plans to raise $3 billion in debt following the carrier's steep first-quarter loss as it bids to combat the drastic travel slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL) - Get Report, meanwhile, is in talks to raise new financing to weather the shutdown of the travel industry during the pandemic, Bloomberg reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
The cruise operator has been discussing a package that may include as much as $600 million of bonds and is working with Morgan Stanley on a possible offering, the people told Bloomberg.