U.S. stock futures were lower in a continuation of Wednesday's Federal Reserve-induced sell-off late in the session, which knocked the S&P 500 from intraday all-time highs on a day when Apple eclipsed a $2 trillion stock market value. In minutes from the Fed's July meeting, central bankers said they expect coronavirus fallout to "weigh heavily" on the economy. The Fed, which has been embarking on extraordinarily accommodative monetary measures, promised to keep interest rates near zero until the economy gets back on track.
Futures paired some overnight losses after Chinese officials said that Beijing and Washington agreed to go back to the negotiating table in coming days to review the progress of their trade deal, which was signed in January. Last week, President Donald Trump reiterated that he believes the trade deal was "doing very well."
First-time filings for unemployment benefits moved back above 1 million. The government said Thursday that initial jobless claims for the week ended Aug. 15 totaled 1.106 million. Economists had expected 923,000 new claims. The prior week was revised slightly higher to 971,000 — the first total below 1 million since March 21 when the coronavirus lockdowns were taking hold.
With Capitol Hill and the White House still unable to break their stalemate over the lapsed $600-per-week federal unemployment benefits boost, 11 states were approved by the government to offer half that under a Trump executive order. Approved states could start paying out the subsidy as soon as this week.
Dow stock Intel jumped about 3% in Thursday's premarket after the chipmaker announced an accelerated $10 billion stock buyback program, with CEO Bob Swan saying shares were trading "well below" their valuation. Intel's shares have been under pressure since the company said it was about a year behind on a shift to next-generation technology.
Nvidia fell in the premarket despite the graphics card maker's better-than- expected second-quarter adjusted earnings of $2.18 per share on rosier revenue of $3.87 billion. Nvidia also issued a strong current quarter revenue outlook, but some investors were disappointed with the performance of Nvidia's data center business.
Shares of Apple, also a Dow component, were higher in Thursday's premarket trading, one day after the iPhone maker's market cap went over $2 trillion, doubling in just over two years and becoming the first U.S. public company to reach that milestone. Apple briefly traded above magic number of $466.77 per share, but closed below that level. Apple, like many tech stocks during the pandemic, has seen strong gains in 2020, up 57% this year.
Airbnb, initially hurt by the coronavirus halt in travel, has submitted a draft registration to the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering. Airbnb recently laid off about 25% its of staff, cut marketing costs and raised billions of dollars in debt. However, it rebounded more recently after a surge of rentals in rural areas as residents fled pandemic-stricken cities.
Joe Biden closes out the virtual Democratic National Convention on Thursday night, accepting his party's presidential nomination and arguing for why Americans should vote for him instead of reelecting Trump. Michael Bloomberg is also on the program.
In a historic night, Biden running mate Sen. Kamala Harris became the first woman of color to accept a major party vice presidential nomination. Harris, who outlined a handful of policy proposals and knocked Trump in her speech, also said, "There is no vaccine for racism. We have got to do the work."
The third night of the convention also saw former President Barack Obama rip Trump as incompetent, selfish and full of himself. Obama made the case for his former vice president Biden for the top job.
The Republican National Convention runs next week, with the GOP set to nominate Trump for reelection.
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