Wall Street set for subdued open; jobless claims fall

(Reuters) – U.S. stock indexes were set to open lower on Thursday following the latest batch of quarterly corporate earnings reports, while data showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week as expected.

FILE PHOTO: The front facade of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is seen in New York, U.S., February 12, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

The Labor Department said initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 26,000 to a seasonally adjusted 360,000 for the week ended July 10.

Wall Street’s main indexes have swung in line with rising inflation since mid-June, with investors fretting over a sooner-than-expected hawkish shift by the Federal Reserve amid signs of a steady economic rebound.

“There is some concern that the economy has sort of reached the maximum level of growth,” said Robert Pavlik, senior portfolio manager at Dakota Wealth in Fairfield, Connecticut.

“This will be a period of higher volatility and choppier markets.”

On his first day of testimony before Congress, Fed Chair Jerome Powell on Wednesday said he was confident recent price hikes were associated with the country’s post-pandemic reopening and would fade.

The “powerful support” pledge assuaged some concerns over inflation, helping the benchmark S&P 500 and the blue-chip Dow end a choppy session with small gains.

Powell is scheduled to appear before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee at 9:30 a.m. (1330 GMT).

Graphic: S&P 500 and jobless claims:

Meanwhile, the second-quarter earnings season began on a strong note this week, with the four largest U.S. lenders – Wells Fargo & Co, Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co – posting a combined $33 billion in profits.

Their shares were down between 0.5% and 0.8% in premarket trading, tracking a dip in bond yields. Morgan Stanley fell 1.1% even as it reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit. [US/]

At 8:48 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 152 points, or 0.44%, and S&P 500 e-minis were down 14 points, or 0.32%.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 5.75 points, or 0.04%, with heavyweights Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, Amazon.com, Google owner Alphabet Inc and Facebook Inc gaining between 0.2% and 0.4%.

UnitedHealth Group Inc rose 0.4% after the largest U.S. health insurer beat quarterly profit estimates and raised its full-year earnings target.

Netflix Inc added 1.8% after UBS raised its price target and the streaming giant hired a former Facebook executive to lead its video games unit to ramp up its efforts to grow beyond its traditional streaming business.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc rose 1.1% after Citigroup upgraded the chipmaker’s stock to “neutral” from “sell”.

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