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US stock futures rise slightly after Nasdaq Composite claws back 2020 losses, jobs report ahead

A man wearing a mask walks by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on March 17, 2020 at Wall Street in New York City.

Johannes Eisele | AFP | Getty Images

U.S. stock futures rose slightly Thursday night after more gains in tech led to the Nasdaq Composite erasing all of its losses for 2020.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up by 61 points, or about 0.25%. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures traded higher by 0.3% and 0.2%, respectively. 

The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 1.4% during the cash session, finishing up nearly 0.1% year to date. Gains from Facebook, Amazon Alphabet and Apple helped lift the index back into positive territory for 2020. At one point, the Nasdaq was down more than 25% year to date.

“It’s amazing really given we’re still working from home,” said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade, about the average clawing back its 2020 losses. “Our reality is we’re working from home and some of the economic demand would seem to be less, yet these stocks continue to fight through.”

Kinahan also noted the market continues price in a swift reopening of the U.S. economy after the coronavirus forced economic activity to a near screeching halt. “There’s this sense of, ‘OK, we’re going to get back to work and things are going to be better.’ But at what pace are they going to get better, and will that be sustainable?”

Stocks that would benefit from reopening the economy rose broadly. Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival both gained more than 5% while Hilton Worldwide climbed 1.6%. American and Delta Air Lines both climbed over 3% while JetBlue gained 2%. MGM resorts jumped 7.3%.

The gains earlier on Thursday also put the Nasdaq up 35.4% from its March 23 low. The S&P 500 has also rallied 31.5% in that time.

But Michael Shaoul, chairman and CEO of Marketfield Asset Management, said the market’s recent moves — which have been tame compared to others seen this year — suggest “an understandable fatigue with the constant stream of conflicting information about the progress of the virus and potential for happier and more drastic outcomes in the months ahead.”

“It also suggests that the relief that the worst case medical scenarios are likely to take place is being replaced by an understanding of just how daunting the task of reopening and rebuilding economies will be in the coming months, leaving the SPX unable to move up and challenge key resistance at 3,000,” he said in a note.

Thursday’s move higher came even after the release of even more dismal employment data. Weekly jobless claims data showed more than 33 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits over the seven-week period ending May 2.

On Friday, the Labor Department will release its monthly jobs report. Economists polled by Dow Jones expect that more than 21 million jobs were lost in April.

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