U.S. stock futures turned lower after the government reported another unprecedented number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed nearly 4.5% lower on the first day of the second quarter after logging the worst first-quarter ever. The 10-year Treasury yield dropped to under 0.6% early Thursday as global coronavirus cases approach 1 million. Oil futures bounced about 10% from highly depressed levels after President Donald Trump said he expected Saudi Arabia and Russia to reach a deal soon to end their price war. Shares of China-based Luckin Coffee cratered more than 80% in U.S. premarket trading after the company disclosed that an internal investigation has found that its chief operating officer fabricated 2019 sales by about $310 million.
The Labor Department said Thursday that an incredible more than 6.6 million people applied for first-time jobless claims last week, more than double the consensus estimate. The prior week saw new claims soar nearly 3.3 million.
On Friday, the government issues its monthly report on job creation. However, the March numbers are expected to show little impact from the outbreak because the survey period went only to about the middle of the month — before the effects of the stay-at-home orders were felt.
The president is set to meet with the leaders of at least seven major energy companies on Friday as U.S. producers struggle to break even after crude prices recently hit 18-year lows and turned in the worst quarter ever. Trump, at Wednesday evening's outbreak briefing, said the administration is considering halting some domestic flights and rail lines between cities hard hit by the virus. Also Wednesday, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said the first human trial testing a potential vaccine to prevent COVID-19 is "on track" with public distribution still projected in 12 to 18 months. He called it the "ultimate game changer" in the fight to control the pandemic.
With coronavirus testing becoming more widespread, U.S. confirmed cases surged to more than 216,700, according to Johns Hopkins University data. American fatalities rose to 5,137. The White House, predicting a "very, very painful two weeks," estimates a death toll of 100,000 to 240,000.
Globally, known cases reached more than 952,000 — nearing 1 million since the outbreak started in China in December. There have been 48,319 worldwide deaths and about 192,000 recoveries. Italy has the second most cases globally at more than 110,500, nearly half the U.S. total. But it has the most deaths: 13,155.
Boeing — whose stock has been slammed by the coronavirus economic halt and last year's grounding of its 737 Max fleet — is reportedly set to start offering early retirement and buyout packages to workers. Several media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, said that an internal announcement is expected as soon as Thursday. Last week, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said it will take "a few years" for the company to get its balance sheet back in shape, but he balked at the idea of the government taking an equity stake in the company in exchange for aid.