Dow futures were pointing to about a 300 point decline at Thursday's open after the Labor Department's weekly report showed fewer than expected but persistently high new jobless claims. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was able to hold on to gains Wednesday, though it closed well off the highs after the Federal Reserve pledged to keep interest rates low for years. Tech stocks dragged the S&P 500 and Nasdaq lower, as they did last week. They were under pressure again Thursday.
Filings for initial unemployment benefits for the week ending Sept. 12 totaled 860,000 after the prior week's 893,000, as the U.S. job market continues its plodding climb from the depths of the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Following a peak of 6.9 million in late March, new claims had remained above 1 million a week through late August. (CNBC)
President Donald Trump urged Republicans to embrace a larger coronavirus stimulus package as White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told CNBC on Wednesday that he's more optimistic about the chances for a deal in the last 72 hours than he has been in the last 72 days. Democrats want a much larger relief package than Republicans.
At a Wednesday evening news conference, Trump reiterated his willingness to accept a bigger relief package, saying, "I like the larger amount. I've said that. Some of the Republicans disagree. But I think I can convince them to go along with it." In an olive branch to Democrats, Trump said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has "come a long way."
Trump contradicted the vaccine timeline that CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield laid out Wednesday morning during sworn testimony at a Senate hearing. At his evening news conference, the president said Redfield was mistaken when he told senators it would take six to nine months for a vaccine to become available. Trump said the U.S. could start distributing a vaccine in October.
Redfield also said a "face mask is more guaranteed" protection than a vaccine. Trump took issue with that, saying that a "vaccine is much more effective than the mask. The CDC then walked back some of Redfield's testimony, clarifying the agency's director believes in the importance of an eventual vaccine — but mitigation efforts, like masks, are the best tools currently available.
The president expects to be briefed Thursday on the proposal for Silicon Valley's Oracle to become a "trusted technology provider" for TikTok's U.S. operations. However, Trump said Wednesday evening he does not like the idea of Beijing-based ByteDance keeping majority control. "Conceptually, I can tell you that I don't like that," he said.
ByteDance said overnight the Chinese government would have to approve any deal involving TikTok's U.S. business. Last month, citing national security concerns, Trump signed an executive order that ByteDance sell or spin off those assets or face a ban in American of the wildly popular social media app.
Snowflake was giving back about 6% in Thursday's premarket, one day after the largest ever software IPO more than doubled from its offering price of $120 per share.
One of the biggest winners on the first day of trading was venture capitalist Mike Speiser, who helped create Snowflake and was CEO from 2012-2014. Sutter Hill Ventures, where Speiser is managing director, owns 20.3% of Snowflake's outstanding shares, including some that will be distributed to affiliates. Altogether, the firm is sitting on a stake worth about $12.6 billion from its total investment of less than $200 million.
— The Associated Press and Reuters 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.