U.S. stock futures were mixed Thursday after the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 454 points, or 1.6%, to its first close above 29,000 since Feb. 20 and to about 1.5% away from its Feb. 12 record high. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also rallied Wednesday, closing at new highs. For the week, the three indexes were tracking for solid gains. September is picking up where the best August on Wall Street since the 1980s left off.
One day before the government's August employment report, initial jobless claims for last week totaled 881,000, fewer than expected. The number is not directly comparable to the prior reporting week's just over 1 million claims because the Labor Department has changed its methodology for seasonal adjustments of the data. Unique circumstances associated with the coronavirus likely caused jobless claims totals to be overstated during the pandemic. While the 881,000 number represented a drop from previous weeks, those totals were not revised.
Apple and Tesla were under pressure again in the premarket after Wednesday's declines. Shares of the two companies were sharply higher on Monday, when their stock splits took effect, and then on Tuesday as well. In fact, both enjoyed huge rallies after the announcements of their splits weeks ago. Tesla sank nearly 6% on Wednesday after the electric auto maker's largest outside shareholder reduced its position. U.K.-based fund group Baillie Gifford said it remains a long-term believer in Elon Musk's company, and the reduction in ownership was due to portfolio restrictions after the stock's huge rally.
Facebook announced Thursday it will ban new political ads from running in the week before the presidential election on Nov. 3. . Facebook will still allow political ads submitted more than a week before the election to run. The social network also said it will label any post from a candidate attempting to declare victory before the final results are in with a link to the official tally from Reuters and the National Election Pool. Until now, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been adamant about allowing political ads on Facebook and Instagram, even if political candidates use those ads to lie or spread misinformation. Other social media companies, including Twitter, have already banned political ads on their platforms.
The federal budget deficit is projected to hit a record $3.3 trillion due to huge government expenditures to fight the coronavirus and to prop up the economy, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That number is more than double the levels experienced after the market meltdown and Great Recession in 2008 and 2009. The spike in the deficit means that federal debt will exceed annual gross domestic product next year, a level that would put the U.S. where it was in the aftermath of World War II, when accumulated debt exceeded the size of the economy.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking states to expedite the approval process for medical supply company McKesson so it can set up Covid-19 vaccination sites by Nov. 1, two days before Election Day. The agency said states may need to waive some licensing and permit requirements that could bog down the process. However, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield insisted that the licensing waivers "will not compromise the safety or integrity of the products being distributed."
— 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.
Correction: An earlier version misstated Facebook's action. The ban affects only new political ads submitted in the week before the presidential election.