Futures dip ahead of jobless claims, business activity data

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(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures retreated on Thursday as investors braced for another staggering jobless claims report and an expected plunge in business activity data as sweeping lockdown measures hammer economic growth.

Wall Street jumped on Wednesday on a recovery in oil prices and signs Congress was readying nearly $500 billion more in relief for small businesses and hospitals. The bill is expected to clear the House of Representatives later in the day.

Still, the benchmark S&P 500 index (SPX) is 17% below its February record high as statewide shutdowns sparked layoffs and crushed consumer spending. Surveys on U.S. manufacturing and services firms are likely to mirror dismal readings from Asia and Europe issued earlier on Thursday.

Data is also likely to show a record 26 million Americans sought unemployment benefits over the last five weeks, confirming that all the jobs created during the longest employment boom in U.S. history were wiped out in about a month.

At 06:40 a.m. EDT, Dow e-minis <1YMcv1> were down 62 points, or 0.27%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 3.75 points, or 0.13% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 21.25 points, or 0.23%.

Retailer Target Corp (N:TGT) rose 1.3% in premarket trading after a surge in digital sales in March and April offset a slump in-store sales.

Eli Lilly and Co (N:LLY) gained 1.5% as it reported a jump in first-quarter sales, boosted by its diabetes drug and also benefiting from customers stockpiling its medicines during the pandemic.

Among other companies reporting on Thursday are pizza chain Domino’s (N:DPZ) and chipmaker Intel Corp (O:INTC).

SPDR S&P 500 ETFs (P:SPY) were down 0.13%.

The S&P 500 closed up 2.29% at 2,799.31​ on Wednesday.

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