U.S. equity futures were trading lower in intraday trading Thursday, while the dollar hovered near a two-year low and gold hit new record highs, as investors braced for fresh jobs data and looked for a breakthrough from stimulus talks in Washington.
But stocks were attempting to pare gains following a better-than-expected weekly reading of unemployment applications, which fell to 1.186 million over the week ending on July 25.
The Labor Department said Thursday that 1.186 million Americans filed first-time jobless claims for the week ended Aug. 1, down from a revised 1.434 million claims the week earlier, as U.S. employers stepped back up their efforts to reopen and rehire, despite renewed virus flare-ups in various states and cities.
Economists polled by FactSet had been expecting 1.3 million claims up to last Saturday.
Democrats and Republicans will continue talks on Capitol Hill around the $600 unemployment assistance, which expired last Friday, and the stimulus package which both sides remain trillions of dollars apart on.
From Street Lightning: What Stimulus Means for Jobs Reports
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters in Washington that she was "optimistic that there is a light at the end of the tunnel" with respect to negotiations with the Republicans, but noted that "how long that tunnel is remains to be seen."
The $600 payment, which collectively pumped around $18 billion a week into the U.S. economy, kept many Americans from having to add to record high personal borrowing rates and could be key to any second half recovery.
Find out why in the video above.