Stock futures were higher as Wall Street attempted to keep a days-long record-breaking run going.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 0.02% on Thursday, Oct. 5, S&P 500 futures increased 0.02%, and Nasdaq futures gained 0.1%.
All three benchmark indexes ended the session on Wednesday, Oct. 4, at record highs, albeit with just small gains. Wednesday marked the third straight record close in a row for the Dow, the Nasdaq's fourth, and the S&P 500's fifth.
Weekly jobless claims in the U.S. saw a sharp decline in the past week, according to the Labor Department. The number of new claims for unemployment benefits fell by 12,000 to 260,000. The less volatile four-week claims average dropped 9,500 to 268,250.
Claims in recent weeks have shown the initial impact of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. The number of new applications for unemployment benefits had seen an uptick.
The string of hurricanes could also affect the official U.S. jobs report, which will be released on Friday, Oct. 6. Economists surveyed by FactSet anticipate 80,000 jobs to have been added to the U.S. economy in September, a sharp slowdown from the 156,000 jobs added in August. The measure has not fallen below the 100,000 mark since March and has only been below that threshold four times in the past five years.
The U.S. trade deficit dropped in August to its lowest level in 11 months, falling by 2.7% to $42.4 billion. Imports slipped 0.1% to $237.7 billion, while exports increased by 0.4% to $195.3 billion.
Also on the economic calendar Thursday: factory orders for August at 10 a.m. ET.
It's a busy day of Fedspeak. Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell will discuss treasury markets at a New York event at 9:10 a.m., San Francisco Fed President John Williams will deliver the keynote address at the Community Banking in the 21st Century Conference in St. Louis, at 9:15 a.m., Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker will participate in a Q&A at 9:30 a.m., and Kansas City Fed President Esther George will speak at an Austin, Texas, conference at 4:30 p.m.
L Brands Inc. (LB) fell 3.5% in premarket trading evev after reporting improving same-store sales trends. Same-store sales fell by 2% in September, half the rate of decline in August. Overall sales at the Victoria's Secret parent increased 1.1% to $981.6 million. L Brands said the recent hurricanes hurt sales by a full percentage point and that its exit of the swim and apparel categories hit same-store sales by three percentage points.
Constellation Brands Inc. (STZ) jumped 6% on Thursday after topping second-quarter earnings estimates. Net income rose to $2.48 a share from $1.75 a year earlier. Adjusted earnings of $2.47 a share, higher than an estimated $2.17 a share. Net sales of $2.08 billion also came in higher than anticipated. Strong beer sales offset weaker wine and spirits sales.
Updated from 7:41 a.m. ET, Oct. 5.
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