U.S. stock-index futures climbed higher Thursday evening in light trading as investors prepared for another test of the bullish moving that has composed gains in two of the past three sessions for the S&P 500 and the Dow, powered by rallies in energy and technology-related companies. However, the market will have to defeat Friday’s jobs report, which will indicate the depth of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the American economy.
Still, the market has blown past Thursday’s weekly unemployment application report, which proved that over 3.2 million jobs were lost in April, summing the total asking jobless government benefits in the U.S. overall the past six weeks to 33 million, or roughly one out of every five eligible workers. Friday’s nonfarm payrolls report expected to show that unemployment hit double-digits, with levels possible to exceed those of the 2008-09 economic crisis.
However, futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMM20, 1.14% rose up 273 points, or 1.2% at 24,116, those for the S&P 500 index ESM2- obtained 1.1% at 2,896.75, while Nasdaq-100 futures picked up 1.1% at 9,156.
During Thursday’s normal session, the Dow DJIA, -1.58% finished 211.25 points, or 0.9%, higher, at 23,875.89, off its day high at 24,094.62, while the S&P 500 SPX, -1.04% added 32.77 points, or 1.2%, to end at 2,881.19, followed by a 2.5% rally in the energy sector [s:XX: SP500.10] and a 2.2% climb in financials [s:XX: SP500.40].
The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.53% engaged at 8,979.66, up 125.27 points, or 1.4%, cutting a 0.08% year-to-date advantage, erasing its losses for 2020. In corporate news, Dropbox Inc. DBX, +0.74% notched its first quarterly profit since its debut as a publicly-traded company in 2018, and Uber Technologies UBER, -0.65% reported first-quarter results that revealed weakness in its ride-hailing business but a surge in its food-delivery segment.
What’s driving the market?
It was another bumpy finish for the major stock benchmarks in the final hour of action. Still, stocks managed to book solid gains, as bullish investors bet on balance in oil-and-gas stocks—even though oil abdicate a sharp rally to end lower—and as financials punched higher amid a broadening of the spread between the short-dated two-year Treasury TMUBMUSD02Y, 0.169%, and the 10-year notes. This condition is favorable to a bank’s business model.
According to Labor Department data earlier in the session, markets arose to mostly dislodge additional 3.2 million Americans losing their jobs at the end of April, bringing the total unemployment amid the coronavirus pandemic to over 33 million. However, investors were glad that the pace of job losses is decelerating.
On Friday, the more firmly followed nonfarm-payrolls report from the Labor Department will offer another look at the employment picture, revealing that the unemployment rate was up to 15% from a fifty-year low of only 3.5% two months ago.