Dow futures turned lower again after weekly jobless claims came in higher than expected. Futures had trimmed some earlier losses after the European Central Bank announced a ramp-up of its pandemic bond buying to $1.5 trillion. Building on a 3.5% three-session rally, the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 527 points, or just over 2%, on Wednesday after better-than-expected economic data on private sector job trends and the U.S. services industry that bolstered optimism over the recovery from coronavirus-led shutdowns.
On Thursday morning, the government said that first-time jobless claims totaled nearly 1.9 million last week, in a sign both that the worst is over for the coronavirus-related jobs crisis but that the level of unemployment remains stubbornly high. The government reports its May employment report Friday, with nonfarm payrolls expected to decline by 8.3 million and the nation's unemployment rate expected to soar to 19.5%.
Casinos in Las Vegas and all around Nevada reopen Thursday, under a number of coronavirus requirements, including 50% capacity in gaming areas. Hotels do not have to limit room capacity. Civil unrest in Vegas and around the country prompted tourism officials to pull a planned ad campaign to promote the reopening.
In Washington, a bill passed by the Senate and the House to give small businesses more flexibility in how they spend federal coronavirus loans through the Paycheck Protection Program heads to President Donald Trump for his signature. The PPP was created in March to support small businesses during the pandemic and to encourage them to retain employees.
Hydroxychloroquine, the drug backed by Trump to combat Covid-19, is no better than a placebo in preventing infection from the coronavirus, according to results published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The president finished a regimen of the anti-malaria drug "without side effects," a White House doctor said Wednesday. The World Health Organization said Wednesday it's resuming its hydroxychloroquine trial after temporarily halting research over safety concerns. A number of other clinical trials are also studying the possible efficacy of the drug on Covid-19.
Former Defense Secretary James Mattis ripped into Trump, in a scathing statement Wednesday night published by The Atlantic, as protests over the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police continued to sweep the nation. Mattis said the president "tries to divide us." The president hit back on Twitter.
Mark Esper, the current Defense secretary, reversed a decision late Wednesday to withdraw active-duty army units from the Washington area. Esper told reporters that while he ordered the deployment of 1,600 troops to the region, he does not support using active-duty military to respond to civil unrest.
Demonstrations in cities across the nation against racial injustices were more peaceful overnight, ahead of Thursday's memorial service for Floyd in Minneapolis. The calmer protests came as prosecutors charged the three other fired officers at the scene with aiding and abetting. The fourth ex-officer, who knelt on Floyd's neck during a May 25 arrest, is now being charged with the more serious offense of second-degree murder.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is expected to announce plans Thursday to remove one of the country's most iconic monuments to the Confederacy, a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee along Richmond's Monument Avenue, a senior administration official told The Associated Press.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow all the developments on Wall Street in real-time with CNBC's live markets blog. Get the latest on the pandemic with our coronavirus blog.